On the front foot: Love him or loathe him, it's impossible to ignore Clarke

Forget the cricket, the week's most memorable presence in Barbados has been Giles Clarke. He has variously attempted to charm the media, thank his wide circle of supporters (9,000 emails, he claims), and mock his enemies.

It has been, in its way, a riveting spectacle, not least because he has managed to avoid fully addressing the sleazy love affair that the England and Wales Cricket Board enjoyed with Allen Stanford and from which they have now extricated themselves. This has further annoyed those who see Clarke as the devil incarnate.

No sooner had Clarke been confirmed as the ECB chairman for a second term than he offered himself for interview by all and sundry. The upshot was feathers being spat. Rod Bransgrove, the chairman of Hampshire who is Tom to Clarke's Jerry, was understandably miffed at the scathing references to himself. A day later, an email arrived from the Hampshire Cricket Members Committee, defending their owner and saviour. Sides have been taken. Sir Ian Botham, once recruited by Clarke during his tenure as Somerset chairman, is now firmly aligned with the Bransgrove camp. News has also emerged of Clarke's elderly mother being pestered by reporters. For what reason, nobody has yet adequately explained. Clarke courts controversy because he excites opinions, and while he will not be resigning he will add to the gaiety of the nation.

Ashton knows the score

'Test Match Special' has appointed a new scorer to replace the late Bill Frindall. He is the genial Malcolm Ashton, who is already familiar to listeners as BBC Radio's one-day scorer. Ashton has a splendid track record. He has the doubtful distinction of being England's last official scorer on tour, a job he did (together with that of all-round organiser) with accuracy and joie de vivre until it was decreed that an official scorer on tour was no longer needed. He knows that he has a hard act to follow in Frindall but Ashton, who was in Barbados to test the water this week, may not be quite so eager to intervene in the commentary.

Tharanga fails first test

Amid the plethora of Test runs scored in the past few days, Philip Hughes (pictured below) and Tharanga Paranavitana might have felt distinctly alienated. There can be no lonelier feeling than being a Test opening batsman making a duck in your maiden innings. Paranavitana, in Karachi, and Hughes, in Johannesburg, became the 35th and 36th examples of Test openers to score nought on debut. Len Hutton remains perhaps the most illustrious after 72 years. Paranavitana's plight was slightly worse than that of Hughes, who at least faced three balls. He is one of only a handful of openers dismissed by the first ball they received in Tests, though he might have been given succour by his partner. The same fate befell Malinga Warnapura in 2007.



Windies tour a turn-on

The West Indies is a good tour for cricket on satellite television and therefore, by association, for Giles Clarke. He was a prime mover in negotiating the original deal with BSkyB and whatever the rights, wrongs or misgivings, has seen off his assorted opponents – including the likes of Mark Nicholas, who might have seen a return to terrestrial as his only way back into live UK coverage. The last day of the Antigua Test, astonishingly, drew Sky's largest-ever coverage for Test cricket at 1.2 million viewers. That the match took place was in many ways down to Clarke's drive. He is imperfect; his opponents look a rabble.



s.brenkley@ independent .co.uk

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
News
Sir James Dyson: 'Students must be inspired to take up the challenge of engineering'
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
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

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?