On the Front Foot: Kieswetter's a young gun but old favourite Gower still tops charts
Sunday 07 March 2010
In assembling his maiden international century on Friday, Craig Kieswetter became the second youngest to achieve the milestone for England. He pushed Alastair Cook down to third place and Eoin Morgan, who had entered the list only three days earlier, to fourth. It means that four of the five youngest batsmen to have scored one-day international hundreds for England are playing in the current team. The man in sixth place, Ian Bell, is on the fringes. This would seem to augur well for a bright future, not of limited-overs dominance, but at least competitiveness, which would still be a remarkable leap on the upward curve. Kieswetter was a mere 22 years 97 days when he pushed on the off side for a single that took him to three figures against Bangladesh. Cook was 22 years 239 days when he scored 102 against India in the same match that Bell, at 25 years 132 days, made 126. Morgan was 23 years 173 days last Tuesday in Dhaka while scoring 110; Kevin Pietersen was 24 years 220 days in Bloemfontein on 2 February 2005 when he made 108 against South Africa. But at the top of the chart, nearly 32 years after scoring 114 not out at The Oval against Pakistan at the age of 21 years 55 days, is David Gower. Although one-day cricket was in its infancy (England had played only 30 games since the inception of one-dayers in 1971) the identity of the one from whom Gower took the youngest centurion tag is remarkable. It was David Lloyd, now Bumble to all and sundry, who on 31 August 1974 at 27 years 166 days (he hardly seems much older now) made 116 not out in a seven-wicket win against Pakistan at Trent Bridge.
Lily lords it in Special seat
Rather a mischievous piece appeared last week about the BBC giving tickets for sporting events to celebrities. These, it was revealed, included entrance to Lord's for alluring pop chanteuse Lily Allen. Some of you may recall that Allen is, or at least was, besotted by cricket, especially the Test variety, and confessed to a crush on the fast bowler Graham Onions. In return, Onions said he was flattered but already had a girlfriend. The Beeb were delighted to capture Diamond Lil for an interview by Jonathan Agnew – jolly good fun it was too – on 'Test Match Special', and how they trumpeted the fact. But it becomes clear surely that it was the least she could do in return for one of the best seats in the house at an Ashes Test.
Colly can come for tee
Ah, preconceptions. Paul Collingwood, a low- handicap golfer, said before this tour: "It won't be easy to find a course in Bangladesh; if there is one they'll probably have wooden clubs." But this is a country of contrasts. True, most of the 160 million people will not have seen a golf course, but there are 14 of them, and the Kurmitola club in Dhaka is as swish as Augusta (well, maybe not). The other day a call was put in to a high commissioner but he couldn't stop, he was on the seventh fairway.
T20 tentacles spreading
Twenty20 is indeed taking over the world. Bangladesh's version, the Port City League, is taking place in Sharjah later this month. The country's own grounds are being spruced up for the World Cup, and organisers aim to ensnare expats. Player auctions were held the other night, with a cap of $4,000 a player per match. T20 is a monster.
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