The Light Roller: A full cricketing calendar means no let-up in the excitement

The diary of a cricket obsessive

Less than a month since the English season ended and the Light Roller trundles back into action, escaping the groundsman's dank shed and heading for adventure Down Under.

In fact, even tucked up in storage, with only a lawnmower and a bag of sawdust for company, it has been impossible to avoid the notion that cricket no longer sleeps. England's women have been in T20 action in the Caribbean (with mixed results); Australia and India have been steadily out-scoring one another amidst Tendulkar retirement-mania; test series are underway in Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates; and it's only nine days before England begin their first warm-up against Western Australia in Perth. 

It's grist to the mill of those who bemoan over-full scheduling. But since cricket, unlike football (snooze), has so many discrete contests and competitions in which fans are likely to take an interest, the packed calendar is generally a source of great joy.

 

Misbah is the greatest leader of the day

For all that the 'endless Ashes' (cp 'timeless test') encourages debate about the respective captaincy skills of Alastair Cook and Michael Clarke, there can be no doubt that the best captain in world cricket right now is Misbah ul-Haq – notwithstanding today’s disaster in Dubai.

Pakistan cricket ought, by rights, to be in a fine old mess. The national team can't play at home because of concerns about security; the board has recently been dissolved; the ghosts of match-fixing are everywhere; and anyone can get a chance behind the stumps provided that they're called Akmal.

And yet. Since Misbah was recalled to lead the team in the wake of the 2010 match-fixing scandal he has, against all odds, brought unity and a measure of success. In 23 tests he has overseen eleven wins and just five losses; and only one series defeat, away to South Africa. He averages a little under 60 in that time - and nigh on 50 in one-dayers. The team can still infuriate (see their recent loss to Zimbabwe and this morning’s collapse against the Proteas) but nonetheless, Pakistan's victory last week against South Africa ought not to have come as a complete surprise. And how fitting that Misbah should have hit the winning runs. Not bad for a 39 year old.

 

England's women need more runs

The current Twenty20 tri-nation competition in Barbados is turning into a bit of a thriller, with games generally in the balance for most of their duration.

England’s defeat of New Zealand Women last night secured their progress to Saturday’s final against West Indies – with a dead rubber against the same opposition to come tomorrow.  But while the bowling looks strong, England’s batting is troublingly inconsistent.  Although they managed to cope yesterday without the excellent Charlotte Edwards – on whom the team is sometimes overly-reliant – the top six (Edwards aside) have only made four individual scores above 13 in sixteen attempts. 

T20s may not be the place for consistent high-scoring – and when bowlers are taking hat-tricks, as Natalie Sciver did last night, big totals may not matter so much.  But England may need to up the ante at the weekend if they are successfully to take on the hosts.

 

Downton brings real class to the ECB

For a moment it appeared that the ECB had signalled an aristocratic, nay royalist approach to appointments by announcing a chap called Downton as its new managing director and a James Whitaker to lead the selection panel.

Alas, the late royal-watcher must communicate his picks from the 'other side', while allowing his one-test wonder namesake to take over Geoff Miller's mantle. Downton, meanwhile, got the nod over a man known during his playing career as Lord Brocket. His earthy background in law and the City were evidently the clinchers.

Then again, his own nickname is 'Nobby', according to Cricinfo.  A nobleman in the ranks? Off to the Abbey with you Paul.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
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

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape