On the Front Foot: England make heavy weather of 'defective' Duckworth-Lewis

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Let us hope otherwise but the prospects are that some of what's left of the World Twenty20 will be disfigured by the Duckworth-Lewis method. This is not the D-L's fault but the fact is that rain in St Lucia and Barbados at this time of year is not uncommon. In matches shortened by the weather, D-L decides what should happen and how. England have got themselves into a dreadful tizzy about it, feeling that they have twice been on the wrong end of it. The first time was in the World T20 last year in England when West Indies faced a reduced target and chased it, as they did on the second occasion in Guyana last Tuesday. England said nothing between last June and last week, made no official complaints or suggestions but remain convinced the system is defective. Yet when they thought they were badly done to by the Umpire Review System in Cape Town in January (they probably were after Graeme Smith survived a review despite looking for all the world as though he had edged a ball from Ryan Sidebottom) they immediately campaigned for a change in the procedure. According to England's coach, Andy Flower, the situations were different and all cricketing stakeholders would see D-L was defective in T20. What stakeholders could actually see was that England did not bowl well at the start of the West Indies innings, allowing them the flier that sealed victory. What is patently obvious is that any match in which one innings is only five overs long will probably produce distorted cricket. If that is what England mean they should say so. Otherwise they should get on with it.

Clarke curries favour

The feeling that Twenty20 will take over the world was enhanced by the email of complaint from Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, to the Board of Control for Cricket in India. Clarke suggested that Lalit Modi, the suspended commissioner of the Indian Premier League, had undermined established cricket in India and England by holding meetings with the Test match counties about establishing a Twenty20 club tournament in England based on IPL franchises. Perhaps he had, and perhaps the counties were correct in saying that their discussions had merely been exploratory and that Clarke had been kept informed. The point is that the Test match counties – all eight of them – are keen on a smaller but substantially richer T20 competition with big-name stars. They need the money that they hope it would generate because they have grounds to upkeep. The BCCI responded to Clarke's missive by issuing a second notice against Modi, referring to his "diabolical design". Modi will defend himself and he may well survive – that is for the Indians to decide. It seems certain, however, that a city-based T20 is desired (anything would be better than the gigantic, bastardised English version starting next month) and that Clarke's odd intervention, currying favour with the BCCI, has just drawn attention to that. The ECB have wider responsibilities to the game at large and have a delicate balancing act to perform but the point is being reached where they will tip over the edge.

Home-grown Yorkies rule

Not the least uplifting part of Yorkshire being atop the Championship is the team's composition. Nine of the side that hammered Essex last week were born in the Broad Acres (their opponents had only one actually born in Essex). True, there were two overseas players but it is almost just like the old days.

No interest in Kies to No 10

Having declared his undying love for England the other day by way of explaining his defection from his native South Africa, Craig Kieswetter, on World T20 duty, was asked if he had therefore made arrangements to vote since the country mattered so much to him. No, he had not.