In the winter of 2005-06, Tim Bresnan was a 20-year-old playing for Sutherland in grade cricket in New South Wales, when a 16-year-old allrounder broke into the first team.

"He'd scored a few in second grade and got in because one of the lads, as they do at that level, had just gone on holiday or whatever," Bresnan recounted. "He came in, got 70-odd and was difficult to dislodge. He played for the rest of the season."

In his typical style, Bresnan was to-the-point when the teenager asked if he might be able to get a game as an overseas player in county cricket. "He said, 'Hey, can I come and play for Yorkshire?' I was like, 'Woah, hold your horses big lad. We're full up and you're not that good yet. Just grab yourself a couple of bats out of my kit bag and score some runs.'"

The teenager's name? Steven Smith. Whatever happened to him?


Two washouts in a week for Kent has ended Canterbury's record as the ground least likely to suffer an abandonment since Twenty20 cricket came on to the scene in England in 2003.

That accolade now rests with the two major London grounds - The Oval and Lord's - further proof if it was needed that the capital has things all its own way.

Not that Kent suffered too much in terms of their position in South Group as Friday night's programme was entirely washed out - bringing this season's number of no-results to 24 - more than 25% of the total matches.

The grounds most likely to suffer an abandonment in the past 16 years? Nobody will be too surprised to see Chester-le-Street and Cardiff at the top of the list


Worcestershire's staggering win against Durham at Chester-le-Street on Thursday night when they conceded an opening stand of 79 in 11.4 overs yet still defended their 117 for 7 with three runs to spare was one of the great backs-to-the-wall victories in the history of the Blast.

The defending champions regained second spot in North Group behind Lancashire who visit New Road on Sunday. It would be nice if it didn't rain for once.

Worcestershire's resolve was all the more impressive considering that they have been criss-crossing from white- to red-ball cricket far more than other counties.

Worcestershire have gone eight games without a win in the Championship - after winning the first two matches - to leave them with only a slim chance of finishing in the top three and regaining their Division One spot at the first attempt.

"This year was never going to be straightforward, particularly with the scheduling we've had," first-team coach, Alex Gidman, said. "It has been very, very tough. I think by this time next week we would have played three red-ball games in the campaign since the Blast started whereas everyone, apart from Gloucestershire, would only have played one which makes it very hard.

"The lads have admittedly struggled to find a playing rhythm but you have seen that character and determination on Thursday which has got us to where we are."

With a Championship round plonked in the middle of the Blast this week, Worcestershire have a chance to show that resolve in four-day cricket. They desperately need a victory to revive their chances of finishing in the top three.


This column brought you the news two weeks ago that Lancashire are struggling to work out where they would host a home quarter-final due to a clash with Old Trafford's Ashes Test, and it has emerged that Middlesex are facing a similar quandary.

Assuming they finish in the top two, Middlesex will be keen to hold a knockout tie at Lord's, but if they do it could be in front of a diminished crowd: the Compton and Edrich Stands at the ground are set for a redevelopment, starting in late August, so by the time of the quarter-finals in the first week of September, they will be out of action.

The Times reported that the club is working with the MCC plans to ensure most of the ground can be used, and logistical reasons mean that it is unlikely an outground would be used, but if any decision-makers are superstitious, perhaps they might consider summoning the spirit of their victorious 2008 team.

That year, the quarter-final dates clashed with the Lord's Test, so Middlesex played host to Lancashire at The Oval, where a 20-year-old Dawid Malan scored 103 to rescue them from 21 for 4 and send them to Finals Day. And after Malan's ton there earlier this season, he might not think a cross-town switch would be such a bad idea.


Delray Rawlins has been granted two weeks off by Sussex to play in the ICC T20 World Cup Americas Region Qualifiers for his native Bermuda, and made quite the impression in his first game for his country since 2016.

Coming in at four, and facing a hat-trick ball, Rawlins ended up with a 63 that underpinned his team's 141 for 7 in their first match against the US, before taking 1 for 26 in his four overs and adding two catches to secure a six-run victory.

His team-mates for the ongoing tournament include Malachi Jones, the seamer who found Robin Uthappa's outside edge at the 2007 World Cup to set up the mighty Dwayne Leverock for his memorable slip catch, and Leverock's own nephew Kamau, who is on Nottinghamshire's books.

It is hoped that Rawlins will return in time for Sussex's penultimate Blast group game, against Glamorgan on Bank Holiday Monday, though that will require him to emulate Chris Green by playing two games on different continents in the space of 24 hours.


England's World Cup victory robbed Ian Gould of what potentially could have been a deserved climax to his international umpiring career. In the event, poor old "Gunner" did not even get a semi.

But Gould is still a welcome and ebullient presence on the county circuit - if not necessarily for Gloucestershire, who lost a close Blast encounter against Sussex at Bristol recently after he awarded six penalty runs against them for a slow over rate ahead of the final over.

He will also be busy this autumn, teaming up with the respected Sussex journalist Bruce Talbot for an autobiography that could spill the beans on controversies ranging from the "Sandpapergate" to the Sri Lankans walking off the field during a Test in the West Indies. That is one worth looking out for.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98