The Light Roller: Test return or not, Kevin Pietersen in whites would be great for the county game

Diary of a cricket obsessive

Will Gore
Tuesday 15 April 2014 18:21
Kevin Pietersen has said in India that he regrets ‘textgate’ but does not rule out an England return
Kevin Pietersen has said in India that he regrets ‘textgate’ but does not rule out an England return

Trust KP to open his big mouth

Kevin Pietersen's apparent suggestion in comments to ESPNcricinfo that he might yet play again for England was interesting but not necessarily a great surprise.

For a start, Pietersen does not like being out of the limelight. He is a man who finds it necessary to wish his twitter followers a “Happy Monday”. A provocative remark to a media outlet is more or less de rigueur.

However, the mooting of a return to Test cricket was almost inevitable because of the structure of international and domestic cricket - not just in this country - as this column noted a few weeks ago. An England cricketer might have a central contract which affords a degree of stability, but a county player doesn't need one to get picked for his country. Big runs by KP for Surrey could make things very tasty indeed.

The County game is wide open

The opening rounds of the LV= County Championship have suggested that a raft of teams in each division are likely to be competitive this season.

In the top tier, Yorkshire and Notts both have the kind of strength in depth that looks attractive on paper but, as Lancashire showed in 2011, the title is winnable with a small and unsung group. Durham will be well-marshalled again by Paul Colllingwood.

As for the second division, Surrey's opening defeat by Glamorgan was a sign that they may be aiming to make a hash of things once again. Graeme Smith might wish he had retired from the game as a whole before the season is out, unless KP rides to the rescue.

The Roller’s predictions? Yorkshire for the title; Essex or Glamorgan to win Division 2.

The BCCI’s intransigence over pictures is bad for media independence

When the 2014 edition of the Indian Premier League hits off tomorrow, users of mainstream media might find photographs of the action in short supply.

This will be because of the latest skirmish in a lengthy battle between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international media agencies, the latter having been banned by the former from taking pictures of recent test series and other tournaments under its jurisdiction. The BCCI insists that only the IPL’s own photographers may provide images to news media, ensuring that all profits are retained by the organisers. The international agencies, working through the News Media Coalition, argue that they should have the right to report on what is a sporting news event and sell the material they gather to their clients (i.e. newspapers, websites and so on).

A fairly unedifying spectacle this may be, but there is an important principle at stake in terms of media independence. And given how frequently the IPL finds itself mired in debates about corruption, one might have thought that the BCCI would realise it is sometimes wise to put media goodwill before the health of its own coffers.

Hadlee’s vintage kit is this week’s star performer

Bell and Cook have played themselves back into form; Jonathan Trott has made a welcome return to the field of play; some of those hoping for a test call-up have pressed their claims with impressive performances. On foreign soil, the future king of England has proved once and for all that royals should stick to horse-based sports.

However, the major cricketing highlight of the last week was surely the appearance with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge of Richard Hadlee; or to be more precise, Richard Hadlee’s World Cup ’92-era shirt. You know the one: light grey with white, red, green and blue trim across the shoulders and with no hint of this skin-tight nonsense they go in for nowadays. All the other team kits were of the same design in different colours.

New Zealand made the semis of that tournament before being beaten by the eventual winners, Pakistan, who overcame England in a memorable final, despite Derek Pringle’s 3-22 off ten measly overs. This was also the tournament in which Alec Stewart scored a remarkable 29 off 96 balls as England, despite having already qualified for the later stages, failed to chase down Zimbabwe’s 134 and were bowled out for 125 off 49.1 overs. How times change.

Twitter: @willjgore

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