On the Front Foot: Heavy roller makes light work of out-of-form Englishmen

Always was a batsman's game, always will be. Quite right, too, because without runs, preferably coming at a lick, the game would flounder. But there is a growing understanding that the poor bowler cannot simply be treated as cannon fodder. To that end, the prohibition of heavy rollers after the start of County Championship matches this summer has worked a treat. It goes some way to explaining the poor form of the likes of Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Ian Bell, top-order thoroughbreds who might have benefited from the benignity brought to pitches by heavy rollers at the start of innings. In explaining his struggles for Middlesex for much of the early season, Strauss said the other day: "It's meant 200, 250 being a good score and tight, compelling games, but batting has been harder than in the past." Poor lamb, you thought. On the international stage as well, keeping the balance in check (if not exactly redressing it) is concentrating minds. The International Cricket Council's cricket committee met at Lord's last week. There was no formal recommendation but one of the topics addressed, and which may well be revisited, was the notion of raising the restriction on bowlers' overs in limited-overs matches. So that instead of being limited to 10 in a one-day international, two bowlers might be allowed, say, 15 overs. Or in a Twenty20 match, two might be permitted to bowl six rather than four. Serious consideration is also being given to preventing batsmen at the non-striker's end stealing ground as the bowler runs up. The practice is prevalent, particularly when the heat is on towards the end of a one-day innings. It is not beyond the bounds that the old law, in place until 1980, which allowed the batsman at the non-striker's end to be run out if he was stealing ground, would be reinstated. What fun that would be in a tight match.

It's Lalit's modus operandi

Lalit Modi, the suspended commissioner of the Indian Premier League, was in Cannes yesterday. "Beautiful" according to his tweet. But he had been in London earlier in the week, addressing the Google Zeitgeist conference where he touched on his troubles. "I guess I became the focus of so many charges because we got 149 million viewers to watch the IPL final," he said. "Everybody wondered how we got there. We grew too fast. We blew every number on the table; we blew everything that anybody said can't be done. We surpassed every plan that we put on the table. We pissed off a lot of people." Not going quietly then, Lalit.

Schedule still sucks

The England and Wales Cricket Board would do well to study the politely termed "contribution to the discussion on the structure of the domestic season" issued by the Professional Cricketers' Association. It details what the players think, and here is a sample of the madness of the 2010 season according to one of them. "The schedule for April is the most challenging thing I've experienced as a professional. I've been explained the thinking behind why this happened but the people writing the schedule cannot understand what it requires." Quite.

Miller's tale on offer

A hospitality company is selling packages at The Oval which include a question-and-answer session with the chairman of selectors, Geoff Miller. He is billed as "the key decision-maker outside the England dressing room" and is open to be quizzed on selection issues ahead of the Ashes Test. Should be fascinating, since the phrase "tight-lipped" could have been manufactured with the amiable but resolutely non-revelatory Miller in mind.

s.brenkley@independent.co.uk

Suggested Topics
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'