The Light Roller: Take your eye of the ball for a fortnight and you'll miss more than you bargained for

Diary of a cricket obsessive

There may be a lot of cricket being played, but it leads to plenty of choice for the fans

With the Roller having been invalided out of action - and then on holiday at a Rollers Convention - over the last couple of weeks, a heck of a lot has happened.

The T20 Blast has got underway, with Freddie Flintoff nearly the star attraction; the Championship is starting to shake down; England and Sri Lanka played out an interesting series of ODIs with barely a capacity crowd in sight; and in Kingston, Jamaica, home of fast bowling greats including Courtney Walsh and Michael Holding, West Indies spinners Suleiman Benn and Shane Shillingford shared 98 overs and six wickets in the first innings of their ongoing test against New Zealand.

It will be an interminable matter of debate as to whether there is too much cricket being played. From the point of view of us fans, it is undeniable that if you take your eye off the ball for even a couple of weeks, there is an awful lot to miss.

 

With the sun out, will England’s Ali be the star turn at Lord’s?

You may have spotted that the sun is shining.  It is due to shine all week.  And England are going into a test match at Lord's without a frontline spin bowler. 

There has been nothing in the Championship matches at the venue this season to encourage spinners.  In Middlesex's game against Lancashire a month ago, England Lions Ollie Rayner and Simon Kerrigan managed one wicket between them in 32 overs.  The last time Lord's hosted a test in June was also the last time Sri Lanka were in town: Rangana Herath and Graham Swann took eight of the thirty wickets to fall in a high-scoring draw. 

Presumably, the strip is not going to be left to bake all week. But in any event, Moeen Ali's bowling promise ought not to be overlooked.  He does, after all, have well over a hundred first class wickets at an average of around 40.  In the last two seasons of the Championship he has 35 wickets at 32.8, which bears comparison with other 'proper' bowlers.  In the absence of a standout performance from mainline spinners so far during this domestic seasons, Ali has a chance to stake a real claim.  It is a chance he fully deserves.

 

Carberry's criticism of the old regime doesn't increase his chances under the new

Michael Carberry has had a bit of a tough time of it. He made a reasonable fist of things in Australia, while never looking quite like a long-term test match player. He has had a couple of goes in the short-form stuff against the Sri Lankans without getting a long run. He remains a prolific scorer in county cricket.

Yet his omission from England's test squad came as a surprise to pretty much nobody, apart from perhaps himself. He has previously expressed himself disappointed at the way he has been handled by management and described himself in April as having, throughout his England career, been given a “shorter rope” than others.

It has not been suggested that Carberry had anything other than a tip-top attitude to playing and training during the Ashes. He is undoubtedly a very good player. But the facts are, he has not proved himself at international level and time is not on his side. In press interviews he often seems quite cross. And while he may have reason to feel irked, criticising the old regime is not a positive way to impress the new one.  Nor, unfortunately, was getting a golden duck against Worcestershire on Monday.

 

Bring in Championship flexi-tickets to incentivise attendance for distant fans

As we hit mid-June, the Championship reaches its halfway point and I have to accept the fact that have - by failing to practice what I preach - not made the most of it.

A trip to the Oval in May was all too brief; a day at the Lord's test on Saturday is highly anticipated. But that's a paltry return. What it demonstrates is the degree to which counties have to battle to secure regular attendances. There are plenty of cricket nuts around but there are also a great many interests and imperatives to compete for their time.

There have been some good innovations in recent times. Is it time for the ECB to consider offering a centrally-sold flexi-ticket, which allows fans entry to perhaps five days of Championship cricket per year at any venue (fees to be recouped by whichever counties are visited). For those of us who do not live close to a particular ground or who are not strongly affiliated to a particular county, it could provide the incentive to more actively seek out matches to attend.

Twitter: @willjgore

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

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?