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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Sport
Lionel Messi looks on at the end of the final
football
Extras
indybest
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
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

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on