On The Front Foot: Woolf is banging on the door demanding action from ICC
Reviews, damn reviews and reviews. As it were. The game is awash with reviews, of which the Umpire Decision Review System is merely one. The latest is the sweeping Woolf Review, an examination by the former Lord Chief Justice into the running of the International Cricket Council.
Woolf pulls no punches but, boy, he knows how to soften them up. By page four of 60 he had written "Cricket is a great game", "cricket has a proud record" and "cricket has a unique position in the sporting world". He then cut to the chase by telling the ICC that they were a gentlemen's club and had better change soon or else. He calls for a drastic change with a full-time, paid chairman, financial transparency and more full members immediately. Oh, and like everybody else, he wants to preserve Test cricket. Tellingly, he said: "There is a need to preserve and value Test cricket but not at the expense of being able to develop new nations." Later on he mentions the idea of regional Test teams being formed from associate members, suggested by several of his interlocutors. But he thinks the admission of two new full members should be a priority. The ICC have postponed discussions until their next meeting in April but it will be known whether they mean to act by July. That is the deadline set by Lord Woolf for the new president to act as chairman until a new, independent chairman, leader of the body, can be appointed.
Domestic strife creates mess
And what a fine mess there is over the Morgan Review of domestic cricket. The England and Wales Cricket Board stipulated that it should be accepted in full or not at all, so it will be fascinating to see what happens next since all the counties do not like some of it and some of them do not like all of it. The biggest dispute is about the proposal by David Morgan, the former ECB chairman and ICC president, to reduce the number of Championship matches from 16 to 14, thus making an inequitable competition. This navel-gazing is as integral a part of the game as the Championship itself. In 1949 HS Altham chaired a committee on the future of the domestic game and launched it by saying: "If only we can get enough boys playing this game in England and playing it right, it is quite certain that from the mass will be thrown up in some year or another a new Compton, a new Tate, a new Jack Hobbs, and when that happens we need not worry any more about our future meetings with Australia." Seven years later, MCC printed a report, Reviving First Class Cricket, proposing the limiting of first innings to 85 overs. And on and on. Lord MacLaurin, in his 1999 review Raising the Standard, insisted that the way forward was three divisions of six. We should worry not about the fate of the Morgan Review but which poor sap will chair the next one.
Broad set to go above Evans
Unless the management decide otherwise, Stuart Broad has a chance of becoming the most prodigious of all Test No 8 batsmen. After his dazzling 58 not out in the Abu Dhabi Test, he needs seven runs to overtake Godfrey Evans' total of 833 runs in the position. There is a way to go to overhaul the 15 men in front of that, two of whom have made 1,000 Test runs at eight. Two have made 2,000: Daniel Vettori has made 2,227 runs there, although there seems to be a move to turn him into a No 6, which he should resist at all costs. Shane Warne made 2,005, scoring more runs than anybody else without a hundred, a record that will take some beating.
Leg before, many more now
As for umpire reviews, what a lark. There are now more lbws than you can wag a finger at. In the UAE, there have already been a record number for a three-match series. Contrast this to the 1971 series between the sides when there was a record low of precisely one lbw in three matches, and that was the last wicket of all to fall, Pervez Sajjad – which, as it happens, gave match and series to England.
In and out of Pakistan team
Pakistan always surprise. Only three of the team who were all out for 99 on Friday survive from the side who were all out for 72 against England at Edgbaston in 2010: Azhar Ali, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Gul. But then three men also played for the team dismissed by Australia for 59 and 53 in Sharjah 10 years ago: Taufeeq Umar, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq.
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3: 'We're upset we didn't score more goals,' admits Steven Gerrard
France 20 Ireland 22 match report: Ireland hold on to give Brian O'Driscoll perfect end to glittering career
Michael Schumacher: Sebastian Vettel pays tribute to F1 legend with special helmet for Australian Grand Prix
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3 player ratings: Who scored highest - Steven Gerrard or Luis Suarez?
Mo Farah allays health fears after passing out in New York half-marathon defeat
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex
- 3 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Q&A by Simon Calder: How far could it have travelled? Who was responsible and what would their plans be? And how can a plane just vanish?
- 4 California man Christopher Viatafa surrenders to police after googling own name and discovering himself listed as ‘most wanted’
- 5 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle!' Viral Facebook links are profiting hackers
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
Ukip and Nigel Farage on course for remarkable victory in European elections
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Tony Benn was entirely ineffectual - and usually wrong
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say