Cricket: Leicestershire's progress cramped by damp

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The Independent Online
Leicestershire v Kent

IT is 13 years since the Test and County Cricket Board outlawed uncovered pitches, although Kent must be wondering whether the news has yet to filter through to the Midlands.

After the Benson and Hedges Cup debacle at Edgbaston, Kent found another strip at Grace Road capable of supporting a colony of frogs, although it is hard to imagine that the frogs could have jumped any higher than yesterday's batsmen. The ball seamed extravagantly, occasionally took off vertically, and Leciestershire's 204 might even be enough for a first-innings lead.

The problem at Leicester is inadequate covering, and if they are a little strapped for cash it may have something to do with the pounds 100,000 pay-off to their former chief executive Mike Turner, whose departure after a 44-year association with the club still dominates Members' Bar gossip.

According to the president, Brian Smith, there had been a falling out in 'disputes over policies and details'. There had, he added, been a 'breakdown of mutual faith, trust and goodwill'.

Turner then withdrew his candidature for the committee. Proposals to elect Turner an honorary life and vice-president were then rejected at the agm to mark the end of a revolution that was bloody even by Yorkshire standards.

On the field, Leicestershire have made a decent start to the Championship with two wins out of three, and a few of their players would have been responsible for Keith Fletcher's attendance yesterday.

It was, though, hardly a day for judging batsmen, with the ball leaving juicy red marks on a damp green carpet, nor, for precisely the same reason, for identifying potential wicket-takers on Test pitches. On a chill, hamstring-threatening day, Fletcher would probably have regarded the sight of Alan Igglesden bowling two lengthy spells without going twang as a bonus, although Igglesden looked to be trying a touch too hard in conditions which demanded little more than plonking the ball on the spot.

Kent's most impressive purveryors yesterday were Min Patel, a Bombay-born left-arm spinner, and Duncan Spencer, an Australian-reared, English-qualified, seriously brisk fast bowler. As he spends a good deal of time on the physio's couch Fletcher has probably pencilled him in already.

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