Sport on TV: Aussies are left looking for a hero in virtual world

Cricket is facing a test of credibility – but not because some players cheat. It's also because of the number of nurdlers and sloggers masquerading as Test cricketers. Last summer's series against India was billed as the battle for the world No 1 slot but they sent over a pub team – though admittedly one with a rather good ringer in Sachin Tendulkar. Now South Africa and Australia are contesting the main series of the winter as if it was an Under-9s house match. It's becoming difficult to tellif a player is deliberately underperforming or if he's just rubbish.

The second day's play at Cape Town (Sky Sports 1, Thursday) was only the third time in the history of Test cricket that there have been all four innings in one day. 96 all out? Pah, that's a decent score compared to the Aussies' 21 for 9. After that, 47 all out seemed almost respectable.

Admittedly the ball was zipping past the outside edge at regular intervals, but Robin Jackman was wrong when he said: "You want to be bowling at Nos 1, 2 and 3 so they're good enough to nick it." This Australian top order couldn't hit a beach ball with Geoffrey Boycott's grandmother's stick of rhubarb, fool.

South Africa come to our shores next summer for another series billed as a battle of the titans and the likes of Jackman and Kepler Wessels will deaden the airwaves with their utter lack of charisma. But while they drone on drearily, at least there is the Billy Bowden Show to maintain the levels of excitement.

The Cape Town Test was notable for its almost continuous use of the Decision Referral System. Admittedly it doesn't help when 23 wickets fall in one day but there was almost more virtual footage than live action. With bails flying everywhere it was like a new version of Call of Duty, were it not for the gross dereliction of duty shown by the players.

Bowden has made a name for himself as the world's flamboyant umpire since the tearful farewell of the lachrymose Dickie Bird, and even off camera as the TV umpire he is the centre of attention. He would make an estimable gameshow host, although in the current climate we had better not call it Billy'll Fix It.

* In his sobering film Unreported World: Going for Gold in Gaza (Channel 4, Friday) Aidan Hartley makes the point that in Palestine those who die are the heroes, not sportsmen. Their paralympic team for London 2012 falls somewhere between the two: many amputees are created by Israel's retaliatory air strikes, while disabilities are also commonplace because of interbreeding born of poverty and living in what is effectively a prison.

The athletes' progress is hampered by the lack of available prosthetic limbs. Fatma the shotputter may be the only female athlete to make it to London but she is waiting for a leg whose parts are stuck in the airport in Tel Aviv. It would be the first time that a female paralympian from Palestine had ever competed abroad because conservative family values usually prohibit their participation.

The men's team captain, discus thrower Hameez, must wait half an hour for a taxi to take him to training because he is in a wheelchair, and when they do pick him up they often charge him three times the going rate. At least this is good preparation for coming to London next year.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

Guru Careers: Business Analyst / Digital Business Analyst

£50 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Analyst / Digital Bus...

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power