On The Front Foot: Grounds for concern as Centurion beats Elizabeth
Sunday 13 December 2009
So to the highveld and Centurion Park, South Africa's newest Test ground.
There, the First Test of the 2009-10 Test series begins on Wednesday. Thus has history been mistreated. There is nothing wrong with Centurion Park, and its grassy banks and areas for braai mean there is a lot right with it. But its presence on the grounds rota means there are two Tests in the north of the country. There are only 30 miles between Centurion and the Wanderers. It means the country's oldest international ground will have no Test.
England should have insisted on playing at Port Elizabeth not only because of tradition, or even because it is such a jolly venue. England have played nine Tests there and lost once, yet they are going to Centurion where they have played in three matches, two of them desultory draws. The other was a win in the only one-innings Test in history 10 years ago, a match that was manipulated by Hansie Cronje. PE has had happy memories from the moment that C Aubrey Smith, the future Hollywood actor, led England to victory there by eight wickets in 1889 in the country's inaugural Test. It will be missed.
French climber is officially mad
High drama in East London yesterday. The England coach Andy Flower and wicketkeeping guru Bruce French, both former wickies, climbed to the top of a floodlight pylon at Buffalo Park. They weren't threatening to jump, nor calling for the resignation of ECB hierarchy. Climbing is French's passion and wherever he goes his ropes go with him. He ascended a nearby crag three days earlier. This sort of behaviour does nothing for the "wicketkeepers are normal" campaign.
Helping hand for umpire Benson
Umpire Mark Benson is having health checks to see if he is fit enough to stand again after walking out of the Adelaide Test between Australia and West Indies. This column sends him every good wish, not only because he is a top umpire who does not deserve to be sacrificed on the altar of the infernal review system. When he stopped playing, Benson was unsure what to do and advice came from this quarter. "You'd be a very good umpire, having been an opening batsman." A letter was dispatched to the ECB there and then and a new career was born.
Red Rose must bloom again
Poor Lancashire are begging for support for their planning application to turn Old Trafford into a glittering arena. They deserve it. This column was there when Brian Statham took 6 for 34 in his last match for Lancs in 1968, stunning Yorkshire in front of a Bank Holiday full house. It has had a place in the heart since. The planning bid must succeed.
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on today but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Liverpool to confirm Sean O'Driscoll and Pep Lijnders for Brendan Rodgers' backroom coaching staff
Manchester City transfer news: City determined to sign Paul Pogba and meet £71m British transfer record
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
- 1 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 2 What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
- 3 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture