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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering