On the Front Foot: Davies so close to Test cap, but sometimes it's hardly worth having

How close Steve Davies came to being awarded his Test cap on Thursday. Summoned by the selectors from a Championship match at Horsham, where he was playing for Surrey, it took him five hours to make the 150-mile journey on Wednesday evening... only to find that Matt Prior's eye infection had cleared up.

At least Davies was spared hanging around on Thursday only for Prior to declare himself fit by Friday. But, despite his upbeat tweet ("Disappointed not to be playing but nice to be in selectors thoughts... thanks for your messages guys "), it must have occurred to him that the chance may have gone.

Prior has now played 40 successive Tests, second as a wicketkeeper only to the 65 in succession played between March 1971 and August 1977 by Alan Knott, news of whose gong in the Queen's Birthday Honours List OTFF is anxiously hoping for. He is going nowhere quickly.

Davies is not alone in being so near yet so far. In 1982, the Kent fast bowler Kevin Jarvis was called up to the England squad for the Second Test against India at Old Trafford, as cover for the injured Paul Allott. Jarvis appeared in the team photograph and was handed an England shirt and jumper (though crucially not a cap).

On the morning of the match, a bare patch on the pitch persuaded the selectors to play two spinners. Jarvis was never called up again.

Some of those who actually played may wonder why they bothered. The least participating Test cap of all was Jack MacBryan, the Somerset opening batsman who was picked for England against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1924. South Africa batted for 66.5 overs on the first day, after which there was no further play. MacBryan did not bat, bowl or take a catch and was never picked again. His tweets on the matter do not survive.

Testing times for jinxed Edgbaston

The rain over Edgbaston appeared not to dampen Colin Povey's spirits. Edgbaston's chief executive was in bullish and indeed sunny mood despite the hammer blow the weather has dealt to the Third Test.

Povey has overseen a dramatic improvement to Warwickshire's ground, embodied by the £32m stand at the Pavilion End.

To cover this expenditure, Warwickshire need to host big matches. Fortunately, the ECB's insurance scheme means they will not lose out on ticket sales for the match. But the amount of beer drunk and hamburgers eaten will have been minimal.

Povey has already had to absorb the blow of Edgbaston not being awarded an Ashes Test next year, though the ground does have one in 2015. He is also cheerfully convinced that the Twenty20 finals day, to be held at Edgbaston for four years from next year, and the Champions Trophy Final in 2013 are prizes worth having.

But Edgbaston has lost four days' Test cricket since 2000 – more than any other ground.

Legends of the fall so sad

All statistical records, of course, are set only so that they can be overtaken. But there is still sadness, a yearning for what was, when they are consigned to the scrap heap.

Two milestones are under threat this summer from players in this England side. Andrew Strauss needs only four catches to overhaul Ian Botham and Colin Cowdrey, who each took 120. Cowdrey would be relegated to second place after 37 years. Perhaps when he went past Wally Hammond's 110, the last one taken in 1947 (Verdun Scott of New Zealand) there was also a sense of something lost.

Soon too, Graeme Swann will take the six wickets he needs to become England's most prodigious off-spinner ahead of Jim Laker, who took the last of his 193 in 1959.

Good luck to Swann, but for some of us Laker can never be usurped.

Tufnell on Beeb garden leave

The cameras were following Phil Tufnell around Edgbaston. It seemed peculiar, since there was no cricket being played. It transpired that they were there for Tufnell's imminent BBC TV gardening programme. Of course, we should have known – they don't do cricket.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Life and Style
Duchess of Cambridge standswith officials outside of the former wartime spy centre in Bletchley Park
tech
News
people
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

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'