On the Front Foot: Cricket on the Beeb is a joke but the Empire strikes back

In essence the coverage of cricket on BBC Television is a national disgrace. There has not been any to speak of since they lost the rights to live Test coverage 11 years ago and the perfunctory nature of their occasional forays into the world of highlights merely highlights, as it were, their lack of enthusiasm. It is all they can do to get a Test match score on the main television news bulletins and their lack of zeal, endeavour and obligation to the game is at odds with the general excellence of the coverage on BBC Radio. Anybody who ever moans about Sky having live rights to English cricket – and they should not – ought to bear that in mind. Therefore, it is important to welcome with jubilation and surprise the splendid new series which begins on BBC2 tonight. 'Empire of Cricket' does what it hints, exploring the history of the game in four corners of the British Empire. It begins with England and then visits the West Indies, Australia and India. The opening programme tonight at 10pm examines the development of the game in England taking WG Grace, and how he changed the game forever, as its starting point. Its gripping theme is how the game thrived in spite of the differentiation between amateurs and professionals, gentlemen and players. Some facets are dealt with too lightly, occasionally the narration lacks spark and poetry, but this is to quibble and Alastair Laurence, the producer-director has done a loving job and chosen his contributors carefully. It might even wake up some people in telly at the Beeb in this Ashes year to the fact that they could and jolly well should do better.

Warne not on same page

Two engrossing books are out listing the world's top hundred cricketers. Engrossing, of course, because lists simply are that, part of the fun being to disagree with the compiler and also because these have been assembled by Christopher Martin-Jenkins and Shane Warne. Both are shrewd, experienced judges. CMJ has picked his 100 best of all time, Warne the top 100 of his time. It is nonetheless instructive, the first containing 34 England players and 24 Australians, the second 16 from England, 29 from Australia. A quarter of players make the cut in both books, demonstrating the preponderance of cricket in the past 20 years. Sachin Tendulkar is number one for Warne, nine for CMJ, Adam Gilchrist is 10 for CMJ but only 16 for Warne, Allan Border four for Warne, 55 in CMJ. Fascinating.

T20 out of this world

According to a missive from the ICC, the World Twenty20 can be seen in 218 countries around the world. Considering that there are only 194 recognised countries on this planet, the spread of T20 is indeed worryingly galactic.

Sparks fly in Cardiff

One of the biggest clashes in the Ashes is already being fought. It is concerned with the First Test in Cardiff, already beset by controversy because it is in Cardiff. As part of its revamp, Sophia Gardens has taken (temporarily as with all these sponsorship deals) the name of a public utility firm which deals in electricity. But the Tests themselves are already sponsored by a rival, npower, who are desperate to ensure their competitors are given no publicity and that the ground retains its original name. So it should.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
musicReview: 1989's songs attempt to encapsulate dramatic emotional change in a few striking lines
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
I'm not worried about United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Arts and Entertainment
Saw point: Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Serena’
filmReview: Serena is a strangely dour and downbeat affair
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker