The Light Roller: There is only one team worthy of the Champions Trophy

The diary of a cricket obsessive

India pack a punch among light-weights

With the group stage of the Champions Trophy now at an end it is not precisely clear what we have learned about the top eight teams in the world. The semi-finalists are those many predicted and India look a very strong bet indeed (if that's allowed) to win the thing.

But what's mainly apparent is that, India aside, there is a heck of a lot of mediocrity (or would inconsistency be kinder) in the 50-over format. Australia are in a mess, ditto Pakistan, West Indies remain mercurial and New Zealand are hard-working. South Africa can't (yet) match their Test form and have suffered through injury, while England seem inflexible and reliant on the idea that one of the middle order will fire in each game. The fact that Sri Lanka nearly came up short yesterday against the Aussies shows how much their game remains heavily based around their veteran batsmen.

With an England v India final still on the cards the tournament may reach the climax the ICC must have been willing since the start. But on the evidence so far - including Dhawan's batting, Jadeja's spin and Dhoni's captaincy - it could be a one-sided affair unless England step up a gear.

Ravi, your county needs you
 
I wrote last week about Ravi Bopara finding solace in Chelmsford should all go pear-shaped with England. Having been bowled out for 20 by Lancashire on Friday, and with Bopara going strong in the Champions Trophy, it might be that Essex need him more than he needs Essex. 'Freak' occurrence the record collapse might have been, but languishing in the County Championship's second division for all but one of the last ten seasons rather suggests that a change of management is in order.

The return of the one-piece hand-helmet

Nostalgia reigns supreme in the world of the cricket bat. With the Scoop making a comeback last year, Gray Nicolls made any child of the 70s or 80s trill with joy when it restored the Dynadrive for 2013. Slazenger's old-style re-packaging of the V12 and V6 has been equally magnificent and one can only hope that the Symonds Tusker and Duncan Fearnley Magnum will one day return too.

But what about the rest of the kit-bag?  For years no self-respecting batsman would pull on a pair of batting gloves which weren't adorned with a single extra-protection panel across index and middle fingers. Think Michael Slater in his pomp. And for those preferring the angelic-boxer look, there was the one-piece hand-helmet beloved of the late Tony Greig.

Next year, Gray Nicolls, I want to see Test Opener gloves and the Powerspot bat back on the menu.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
News
David Ryall in Harry Potter
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
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

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015