Cybercricket: England lose again

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The Independent Culture
Summer is on its way, and dedicated sports fans are dusting off their cricket whites. As the thunk of football boot against chest is replaced by the thud of leather against forehead, the really dedicated will don the whites, give the videogame joypad a quick polish along a seam and settle down on the sofa for a few innings of cybercricket. Brian Lara's Cricket for the Sega Megadrive, from Codemaster, digitises bat, ball and bail and lets you play anything from a one-inning, 20-over quickie to a five-day, unlimited-over international test series. Pick your teams from a reasonably complete set of current players, set your batting order and toss the coin; up to four can indulge in bowling, batting and fielding. You can't replicate the entire subtle armoury of the game on the standard Sega Controller, but Codesmiths has a jolly good bash at it and with the various difficulty levels it'll be a while before the game's mastered. It's pleasant to see a game dedicated to such a civilised sport; after years of martial arts, basketball and American football there's something soothing in picking Philip DeFreitas instead of Mongo the Mangler. The game shows a little provincialism - every player is as white as an Icelander, you wouldn't get anything so politically incorrect in an American production - but there's nothing untoward in the animation of playability. Sometimes, the realism is stunning: there's an auto option that selects players for your team at random, following which England loses. Now tell me that's not based on real life...

'Brian Lara's Cricket', £39.99rrp, on sale from today