Cricket: Langer displays the class divide

Herefordshire 213-8 Middlesex 215-3 Middlesex win by seven wkts

THE FIRST round of the NatWest Trophy gives the minnows a chance to dream, especially when their big day in elevated company is spent at Lord's. Unfortunately dreaming is just about all Herefordshire got around to, and once Justin Langer, Middlesex's overseas player, began to hit the gaps, a home victory, became as predictable as an England batting collapse.

Langer's century was his first in limited-over competition for his adopted county and it saw Middlesex home by seven wickets with 14 overs to spare. There were casualties, Mike Gatting going early on, and Mark Ramprakash holing out off a leading edge, but generally Middlesex sauntered, a 130- run partnership between Langer and the languid Owais Shah effectively sealing the victory.

With an appetite for runs undiminished by the nature of the opposition, the most striking feature of Langer's innings was the way he eschewed risk against the two old pros, Neal Radford and Kevin Cooper, now plying a distinctly more sedate form of medium pace than was the case a decade ago.

With them seen off, Langer flayed the bit part players, his unbeaten 114, a veritable exhibition of strokes. It was only in the exquisite executions of both cut and pull, that his antipodean upringing was exposed. But that is no bad thing, and the part-timers of Herefordshire at least know what a huge chasm separates them from the really talented player who places a high premium on their wicket.

The newest of the minor counties, Herefordshire's admission was only possible when Durham became a first-class county in 1992. Their total of 213, after being put in, was a commendable effort based on the contrasting styles of the accumulative Jamie Sylvester and the hearty strokes of Rob Hall, both of whom made 53.

The Natwest Trophy has an esteemed place within English cricket. The oldest format in the one-day canon, it is the only domestic competition for which the England and Wales Cricket Board are not currently seeking a sponsor, a situation not helped by the present limbo over television rights and the Government's decision regarding their de-listing.

The lengthy wait could be at an end and Chris Smith, the Secretary of State responsible, is expected to make an announcement today. With cricket struggling to stay in football's slipstream, de-listing is seen, at least by the ECB, as a necessary move to enable cricket to command a fairer approximation of the market price for TV revenue by removing its restriction to a terrestrial channel, in this case the BBC.

However, it seems that de-listing Test matches would prove unpopular and Tony Blair's government is not in the business of being unpopular. The ECB would virtually have to promise not to sell out to satellite TV, and if that was the case, Sky would probably not bother to enter into the bidding war. That would leave us with the current situation whereby the BBC gets what is essentially cut price coverage. That would not be good for the long-term health of the game.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy