The Royal London Cup: One-day cup feels like an afterthought but it could yet reap rewards

Outside Edge

News on the international front may be unremittingly bad but the domestic season still has plenty of excitement to offer (unless you’re a Leicestershire or Northamptonshire fan).

A 50-over competition was reinstated at county level this year in part to ensure that those pushing for a place in England’s ODI team had a chance to play the same format for their clubs. It makes sense in theory. Perhaps the dividend is due next year.

The Royal London Cup ought to be one of the season’s centrepieces. But it has felt like an afterthought crunched into a three-week gap between T20 Blast matches and a round of the Championship. The absence of any minor county or university means it lacks the romance of past tournaments.

With the first semi-final on Thursday it is time to stop grumbling and get on with enjoying the cricket. Warwickshire have the treble in their sights and are favourites to beat Kent, who are seeking a route out of long-term doldrums. On the face of it, the men of the south have a tough task ahead: they are up against a formidable top order of Varun Chopra, William Porterfield, Jonathan Trott and Rikki Clarke. But Kent have a nice mix of experience (Rob Key, Mitch Claydon, Darren Stevens) and youthful promise (Sam Billings, Adam Riley and Fabian Cowdrey) and could spring a surprise.

There is enough quality on show in the competition’s latter stages (Paul Collingwood’s Durham take on Nottinghamshire on Saturday) to suggest all is not lost when it comes to English ability in the 50-over format. But county performances are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to international success. Just look at Virat Kohli: only 34 of his 171 “List A” matches have not been ODIs; of England’s line-up only Joe Root, with 28, has played fewer games at domestic level.

Keedy the latest spinner to turn back time

Had Gary Keedy been 10 years younger, he might well have found himself playing Test matches this summer. A decade ago, he was kept out of a strong side by Ashley Giles’ more utilitarian skills, and the subsequent development of Monty Panesar, then Graeme Swann, meant a call-up never came. Lancashire were the beneficiaries.

The 39-year-old moved on to Surrey last season, then ended up at Nottinghamshire – primarily as spin-bowling coach and assistant physio. But, called up from semi-retirement, he did his best to keep his new employers in the hunt for the title by dismissing Durham’s top three on Monday.

There is a tradition of retired spinners making comebacks – Brad Hogg and Phil Edmonds, to name two contrasting examples. Keedy’s return is a welcome antidote to the notion that the modern game is all about speed, power and youth. It gives comfort to those of us who, well into our thirties, hope the best of our cricketing days might lie ahead.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project