The Light Roller: England will win again, Kevin Pietersen will thrill and Aussie lingo will fill the night-time airwaves

Diary of a cricket obsessive

England need to start with a bang

So here we go. Again. It seems like only yesterday that Mitchell Johnson was being mercilessly harangued by the Barmy Army. And it may only be until tomorrow that we have to wait for more of the same. Johnson is talking a good game but he is not immune to pressure: a bad start and he may just crumble once more.

And he's not alone in the need to begin with a bang. Despite England's win last summer, there isn't much sense that they have real momentum behind them just yet. Their slightly insipid warm-up games haven't given the impression of a side on a roll.

All things being equal, England should come out on top, primarily because it is difficult to see their batsmen having such a collectively poor time of it as they did in the recent home series. Yet on the bowling front there are still question marks. Anderson and Swann might reasonably be said to be tried and tested in Australian conditions. But Stuart Broad - who thankfully has been impressive so far on tour - has only played two test down under and Tremlett, while successful last time, only played in half the series too and hasn’t taken a test scalp for nigh on two and a half years. Those two will be particularly keen, therefore, for early wickets: if they get them and England win in Brisbane then the Barmy Army can raise their voices with glee.


KP is central to England’s dominance

Kevin Pietersen is going to have a tremendous series - I can feel it in my waters. Australian wickets suit him; he knows how to score big runs there; and he loves a large crowd.

Perhaps part of this belief is wishful thinking for there is nobody else involved in the series - even Shane Watson when on song - who can dominate an attack in the outrageous way that KP can. And who doesn't want to see that.

He is, of course, a man who divides opinion, in part because of his South African origins but also because of his perceived arrogance and aloofness. Yet it is complex characters like Pietersen that make cricket so tantalising. He might fire; he might fall to a part-time left-arm spinner. He may fall out with team-mates; he may be held up as a hero. Yet as he lines up for his 100th test (having lost only 26 of the previous 99) it would be a fool who doubted that he has played a central part in making England the force they have become since his debut in 2005.   


‘The Gabba’ could never roll off an English tongue

Having been educated about the wonders of Ashes tours by early hours, long wave broadcasts from the TMS team, it's hard to know whether views about the competing merits of English and Australian cricket are more a result of conditioning and language than genuine differences.

To the initiated, the only thing that sounds as intrinsically Australian as 'tinny', is 'WACA' - and possibly 'debut' when spoken in the Richie Benaud style. The Adelaide Oval stands out as being too genteel really to be in Oz - more likely to be near Richmond upon Thames. But the MCG and SCG could never be part of the English cricketing vocabulary.

The brash, stark Aussies are all about sledging and zooters, wrong'ns and tons. By contrast, at the Gabba (there’s another one) on Wednesday night England will be looking to score daddy centuries on a decent strip, or ensure their seamers put the ball in the right areas. Forget the action, the words alone are enough to get the anticipatory juices flowing. 


Call me masochistic, but I miss the ‘90s

The retirements of cricketing elder statesmen can make men who should know better feel glum.

Sachin Tendulkar's final test this week, the result of which was as predictable as his trusty batting pads, must surely have seen many a 30-something glance in the mirror and wonder where the last quarter of a century has gone. For with his departure from the game's pastoral scene goes another icon of the glorious '90s - a decade when England were often losers but when cricket, through rose-tinted spectacles at least, was very much the winner.

Only Shiv Chanderpaul, Mahela Jayawardene and Daniel Vettori now remain of that generation.  And while it is never wise to compare eras, it is hard not to conclude that the decade from around 1989 was one of the most intriguing the game has known. The rise and fall of great powers, the move towards a more professional regimen (more slowly for some than others), characters aplenty, personal battles spanning years (think Atherton and Donald), the return of leg-spin, and many an English false dawn made for a heady brew. And teenagers could afford to watch matches in those days too.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam