On the Front Foot: England go on holiday but a night on the township still hits home

England have been on holiday. At the finish of the Third Test, the players, backroom staff, wives, girlfriends and children decamped from the hotel in which they had been staying for the splendidly appointed and equally splendidly named One and Only Hotel. There they have spent three relaxed days before the team fly to Johannesburg today to prepare for the Fourth Test. It can only be hoped that they have not gone so far into the comfort zone that they cannot be extricated come Thursday.

The advertised tariff for the hotel, though England will undoubtedly have cut a deal, is 7,000 rand (£586) a night. This is indeed the lap of luxury. Wives and children, of course, not only have air fares paid to join the chaps but are also entitled to a daily allowance for the length of their stay.

Andy Flower, England's coach, was asked at the post-Third Test briefing whether he was comfortable staying in a hotel where rooms cost more than most Africans earned. He replied in exemplary style. "I am comfortable with it. I am confident that this group of players can keep their feet firmly on the ground. I'm not that comfortable with the comparison to some of the poverty that you experience in Africa. And we've got to be a bit careful making those comparisons. Some of our families went out on the township tour yesterday and if anyone needs to be brought down to earth, that would be a great tour for people to go on." The players merit their break. It is to be hoped that some of them had a peep at a township themselves during it.

Prof's must-see exhibition

On the eve of the Cape Town Test, a group of cricket reporters was privileged to attend a gathering on the Newlands outfield. The genial host was the chief executive of the Western Province Cricket Association, Professor Andre Odendaal. A Cambridge graduate, who played in the rain-ruined Varsity match of 1980, Odendaal is the author of the seminal book 'The Story of an African Game'.

It is a great work, putting into perspective the contributions to cricket of non-white players in this country. Odendaal has helped in assembling an important photographic exhibition which will run at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool this year. 'Beyond the Boundary' is intended to explore the relationship between cricket, culture, class and politics. The game is conveyed as a legacy of British imperialism but also as a means of resistance against it. It opens in March.

Tampering is nothing new

Ball tampering made headlines last week but in Larry Tye's biography of the black baseball pitcher Satchel Paige, he writes: "Spitballs were outlawed in the Major Leagues in 1920, but for another generation Negro League pitchers kept dabbing saliva in a way that made the baseball squirt off their fingers like a melon seed. A little dab of hair tonic did just as well. So did sanding the ball with abrasive emery paper hidden in a belt buckle, or nicking the hide with a buckle, nail, fingernail, wedding ring or Coca-Cola bottle cap."

Hooray for Collingwood

In England's three rearguard actions in their past eight Tests, in which they have secured draws with nine wickets down in Cardiff, Centurion and Cape Town, Paul Collingwood has batted four minutes short of 13 hours for 140 runs while facing 532 balls. What a man.


Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living