Sport on TV: Village green behind the ears? Call for England's Knight in shining armour

It's a cruel game, merciless and one-sided. Wickets falling in hapless clusters, simple catches being put down, the opposition scoring runs at will while your blunt attack looks on helplessly. But enough about England. What about the plucky minnows floundering around in the Caribbean?

What entertainment they are providing, in the oldest traditions of the game. From the moment Bermuda's Dwayne Leverock wobbled up to the crease and ensnared Kevin Pietersen with his loopy spin, we were in the long grass beside the village green.

Six sixes in an over, scores like 29 for 6; the breathless excitement of Zimbabwe's run-chase against Ireland, an epic tale which began with a batsman giving three chances in one crazy over, the heroic Irish centurion (an Australian ringer, of course) putting down a crucial chance on the boundary, the excruciating climax as the bowlers sent down huge full tosses and the tailenders could not hit it off the square. It drove the former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams to do an unlikely Fred Trueman impression in his Jamaican brogue: "What is going on out there?"

Given the array of nationalities among the commentators, we could have done with some Irish opinion. Alas there are no ex-pros who have turned to punditry. How about some stark, pithy observations from Samuel Beckett, who played first-class cricket twice, or James Joyce with his rambling stream of consciousness, not unlike listening to Ian Botham's thought processes?

Botham apparently wrote the script as he went along when he was a player. Unfortunately, he still seems to think he can do it. It's the old Boycott ruse, prefacing each comment with the words "As I said before...", when in fact he had said nothing of the sort. It may be a reason why neither made a good captain. But listening to Nasser Hussain repeatedly asking Mike Atherton "What would you do if you were in this situation?" as England stumbled to defeat against New Zealand, it was hard to know what makes a good captain, easy to see why England made a mess of their last three World Cup campaigns.

In the "studio" Nick Knight was on hand to explain everything. He is the new totty for the discerning lady punter while poor old Mark Nicholas is stuck, faceless, in the commentary box. But Knight was also one of England's most effective one-day players last century. He left David Gower's cosy seaside chat, took to the beach, rolled up his trousers and, using a palm tree as the wicket, showed how each of England's batsmen had gone wrong. He will be taking his shirt off next. If England make the final, he could be down to his Speedos, but don't hold your breath.

At first it looked as if Sky had superimposed an idyllic Caribbean backdrop on to their usual studio, throwing in a few items of garden furniture and even a pebble to hold down Gower's notes. He looks like he is relaxing over a few rum punches wherever he is, and Paul Allott perspires freely under the television lights anyway, so it could have been. But as soon as the waves washed over Knight's feet, it became clear that Sky had not put a sand pit in the studio.

As if watching England playing one-day cricket was not bad enough, we have to endure this shameless gloating by Gower and company while we emerge slowly from the English winter with its flooded village greens. By the end of Friday night, it would have been more fitting if Sky's waves had been crashing in, lightning forking across the horizon.

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

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'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test