The Light Roller: Graham Onions may not be tall; more importantly, he isn't Broad

The diary of a cricket obsessive

Broad's versatility puts the onus on a tall third seamer

However much chat there may be about 'hitting straps' and 'finding rhythm', the performances of England's treetop trio in last week's warm-up in Perth must have done little to lift the gloom in the Onions household. Hard though it is to miss a big game in any situation, if the chosen few perform well then at least those on the sidelines can feel unencumbered by the thought that they could have done better.

There remains many a wise head telling us the plan to play two tall bowlers will pay dividends. And it might well.  But in fact the key to success for England may be in recognising the key role of Stuart Broad as a line and length man, rather than as a bang-it-in merchant - except perhaps on those random occasions when he turns unexpectedly but inevitably into a purple patch.

This in the final analysis is the problem for Onions: not that England are planning to bowl gazillions of bouncers; but that to avoid casting Broad in a role to which he is less suited, the team needs a Finn, Rankin or Tremlett to provide the short-pitched stuff when required.  Mind you, if Anderson happens to get injured, the selectors might still be forced to think again.

 

Not a thriller like Lara, but Tendulkar had no weak spots

There are a great many remarkable things about Sachin Tendulkar, who this week begins what will be his last test series. 200 tests, a hundred international centuries, a career reaching its tendrils into four decades and countless moments of brilliance. But what is truly amazing is that there have been no real weaknesses. He scored runs against everyone, everywhere and in all formats, evolving in tune with cricket itself. He wasn't a great captain but it didn't affect his batting. The centuries have dried up but he still plays crucial innings.

The joy of sport is the debate it engenders. Was Tendulker the best of his generation? For being thrilled, Lara gets my vote every time. For pure pugilism, it has to be Ponting. But Tendulker's grace and - especially in his heyday - his sense of utter impregnability in any situation put him at the head of the queue when it comes to picking an XI of the last 25 years.

 

What has happened to the Black Caps?

There is a temptation, whenever great players retire, to feel that the state of the game is not quite what it once was. And when England are playing well, it is still tempting to wonder if that means everyone else has lost the plot - especially for those of us brought up in the '80s and '90s.

But there can certainly be little doubt that cricket in New Zealand is in a right old mess at the moment.  Since Daniel Vettori stepped down as captain, there have been few bright spots and to lose seven one-day internationals on the bounce in their last two tours to Bangladesh is beyond careless.  Without a test win this year and without a series win since 2008 (against Bangladesh), not to mention an early exit from the Champions Trophy and the humbling 45 all out against South Africa in January, there is a real need for stability and progress.

Brendon McCullum is a very good player but has yet to win a test as captain and his batting appears to have suffered.  He and Ross Taylor are both being rested for the upcoming one-dayers in Sri Lanka but an injury to third choice captain, Kane Williamson, means Kyle Mills will be in charge.  It's hardly an obvious recipe for delivering success and it may be some time before the days of New Zealand punching above their weight are seen again. 

 

There is profit for some in childhood triumphs

The Ashes urn is fabled to be the smallest sporting trophy in the world. But at least it has a certain je ne sais quoi.

Rooting through a box of childhood mementos (or tat) last weekend I came across the only two cricketing trophies I have ever won and was struck by the truly brilliant business model operated by trophy-manufacturers. Make small cup out of cheap metal; mount on plastic base; inscribe something generic ('Player of the season' or the euphemistic 'Most improved performer'); sell by the bucketload to every local sports club in the country; walk home with tidy profit.

Needless to say, my cherished Cambridgeshire Under-15 Champions Shield now takes pride of place on my 3-year-old's mantelpiece.

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

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower