The Light Roller: This one-day series needs some sparkle
Diary of a cricket obsessive
Tuesday 10 September 2013
ODIs ought to be appetisers, not after-dinner mints
Jason Gillespie reckons Mitchell Johnson could play a leading role in this winter's Ashes.
That, it seems, is the big news going into the third one-day international at Edgbaston tomorrow, which rather suggests the level of excitement is as low as Johnson's arm at the point of delivery.
It is hugely difficult to engage with a one-day series when it comes hot on the heels of a highly-anticipated Ashes. And while everyone can be thankful that we're only in for five games (well, maybe four), rather than the seven of 2009, the glorious summer of 2005 showed how ODIs can whet the appetite if played at the right time.
50-over games do have the capacity to provide enormous entertainment in their own right. But this series - played between one team happy to rest its stars and another desperate to convince itself it has a decent stock of bowling resources - feels like a rather desultory affair so far. Let's hope for an upturn in Birmingham.
Neutrals will be rooting for Simon Jones and Glamorgan at Lords next week
Somerset's pummelling by Nottinghamshire in last night's second YB40 semi-final means we won't see Marcus Trescothick take on Simon Jones in the Lords finale on 21 September.
Trescothick has had a poor season, as have his county. But it's hard to imagine he won't continue in 2014. For Jones, whose career has been so blighted by injury, the final may be a last chance for cup glory since he is out of contract this year. Assuming he plays, he will have many a neutral on his side.
But Notts are very firm favourites. Broad, Swann, Lumb, Hales, Taylor, Patel and Read can provide oodles of class and experience. But yesterday, they were set on the path to victory by the youthful Jake Ball, who took a career best 4-25.
And when the YB40's done, he and Uncle Bruce (French) can move on with the more important matter of putting together an uncles and nephews XI to take on a best of father and sons XI.
No rest for the Bickers
They say you never lose it. (Some say you never had it, notes Mrs T.L. Roller sagely.)
But at the age of 46, most professional cricketers have thought better of it, turning either to the Garrick-esque comfort of the Sky Sports commentary box or the bosoms of Bruce and Tess for a season of Stricly Come Dancing.
So a serious nod must be made in the direction Darren Bicknell, who is currently turning out for Cambridgeshire in the final of the Minor Counties Championship against Cheshire. With a first class century for each year of his life, it is moderately perplexing that Bicknell never opened the batting for England. Most others of his generation did.
Sadly, the winds that sweep uninterrupted from the Russian steppes to the East Anglian fens have made Wisbech and its environs no country for old men. Bicknell's 1 out of a total of 296 means Cambs have it all to do in the second innings.
Everything is not alright, up on the roof
I have a (previously) private theory that the paucity of great English spinners in the late '80s and '90s coincided with ever-lower roofs on outdoor nets.
The days of open-topped practice facilities, when admittedly a young twirler risked being belted back over his head for miles, were lost, to be replaced with closed nets which, as often as not, impeded a perfectly flghted googly before its trajectory had even in earnest begun.
I was reminded of this hypothesis when walking past a net with my daughter last week and, seeing a stray ball, decided she might like to see a bit of the old magic. Sure enough, after a hop, skip, jump and a roll of the wrist, the ball pinged off the first strut of the net's roof, almost careering into my child's startled face.
'Would have pitched on a length,' I muttered, wondering again what might have been.
Arsenal transfer news and rumours: Gabriel Paulista sent to Paris to speed up move; Luis Suarez bid planned; Gunners eye Daniele Rugani
Chelsea vs Liverpool match report: Branislav Ivanovic seals classic semi-final with extra-time header to send Blues to Wembley
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Andy Murray vs Tomas Berydch: Murray cool over reunion with coach Dani Vallverdu at the Australian Open
Transfer news live: Gabriel Paulista to Arsenal CONFIRMED; Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea; Liverpool close in on £14m Ezequiel Lavezzi
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures