Will Hawkes: Non-stop rain and a deluge of stats adds up to one dull day

View From The Sofa: England v Sri Lanka, Sky Sports 1

It's not often that the term "reversion to the mean" gets used in sports broadcasting. Can you imagine Mark Lawrenson slipping it into a Match of the Day conversation about, say, Blackpool's precipitous descent down the Premier League last season? Lawro may be well-acquainted with the concept but the chances are he'd not want to use it in front of Hansen and Lineker in case they thought he was a bit of a swot.

No such concerns restrict the boys on Sky Sport's cricket coverage. It was Michael Atherton – perhaps inevitably – who slipped "reversion to the mean" into an incredibly lengthy discussion about how many runs England's batsmen may or may not score in the future during Friday's lack of action. The rain tumbling on the Rose Bowl meant there was plenty of time to fill during the morning session and David Gower had kick-started a conversation about his Favourite Toy.

By which I mean, of course, a statistical formula used in baseball to calculate players' future performances and not that Tiger Moth. Alastair Cook, it emerges, will break all English batting records, ending up with some 35 centuries. Fellow Essex man Nasser Hussain could not have looked more delighted at this news, but luckily Atherton was on hand to cool his ardour.

"There are lots of potential glitches," he pointed out. "You could find a particular bowler who has the wood on you." Athers' eyes misted over. "If Glenn McGrath had not come along I would have scored a lot more runs at a better average."

Did an evil grin spread across Nasser's face at that point? Perhaps, but if it did, he was just about the only happy man in the Rose Bowl. There were numerous shots of miserable-looking spectators huddled under umbrellas, desperately hoping for a bit of cricket. Test-match fans these days tend to fall into one of two camps: middle-aged, middle-class men in ill-fitting clothes and the sort of genial nerd who carries his belongings in a plastic bag. Both were represented at the Rose Bowl.

There was also a brief but entertaining vignette featuring umpire Aleem Dar. Just after the obligatory shot of rain on a camera's lens, we saw Dar kicking a ball across the outfield before he came to the side of fellow adjudicator Rod Tucker. With one deft movement, he flicked the ball into the hands of Tucker with his feet and drew appreciative comment from the Sky team: "Good skills," remarked Atherton. A slow-motion replay followed.

To be fair, Sky's response to rain is in a different class to that of the BBC. As I recall, rain during the 1990s – when the Beeb covered Test cricket – inevitably led to footage from a Seventies Test, which sounds good until you see how the game was covered in that pre-Packer era. The paucity of cameras meant that for much of the time the most prominent thing on screen was the wicketkeeper's backside. There may be people who enjoy looking at Alan Knott's rear end for six hours, but most viewers will surely give thanks for Sky's more refined approach.

Eventually, Gower had to give in and accept he had wrung all that could be wrung from a discussion about statistics. "Sometimes the game is overly obsessed with statistics," said Atherton. Well, quite. And then it was time for an old cricket match: England against Sri Lanka in a T20 contest at the Rose Bowl in 2006 – during which, stats fans, 16 players made their T20 international debuts. "Very interesting, NOT," as Lawro might put it.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Ukip leader Nigel Farage arrives at the Rochester by-election count
voicesIs it any wonder that Thornberry, Miliband, and Cameron have no idea about ordinary everyday life?
Sport
sportComment: Win or lose Hamilton represents the best of Britain
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Arsene Wenger reacts during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Swansea
footballMan United and Arsenal meet on Saturday with both clubs this time languishing outside the top four
News
i100BBC political editor Nick Robinson had a lot of explaining to do
Life and Style
Nappies could have advice on them to encourage mothers and fathers to talk to their babies more often
newsTalking to babies can improve their language and vocabulary skills
Sport
Tony Bellew holds two inflatable plastic sheep at the weigh-in for his rematch with Nathan Cleverly
boxingGrudge match takes place on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson at PS1
arts + ents
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

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines