Life after Benaud

On Desert Island Discs, you are allowed one luxury. Given mine would be a magical television that showed all available live cricket (as well as choice re-runs), I’d be able to pick my favourite pundits to describe the action. Who are my top commentators? In theory, I would only need two to cover the matches, but that would be unfair on them (I’m not a tyrant), so I’d hire five to mix it up and give the others a rest.

Richie Benaud in the comm box

Therefore, below are my five favourite commentators. Benaud would have been there, of course, as would Brian Johnston, but we must all move on. There are honourable mentions for Lloyd, Gower, Holding, Dujon, Nasser, Knight, Ward, Smith, Lawry and Greig, but these five pick themselves.My Top Five: Michael Atherton, Jimmy Adams, Michael Slater, Geoff Boycott and Simon Hughes.

I can’t imagine anyone will disagree, but then it’s your island. Pick who you like!

Chivalry is not dead!

The final day of Warwickshire’s season today took a slightly unorthodox turn today as Kent proved that cricket is still a game of gentlemen. With the visitors having batted through the day, securing a draw in a dead match, Rob Key declared with a few overs yet available in the final session. Opening the batting for the final time in his last championship game, Nick Knight was allowed to get the fifteen runs he needed to bring his Warwickshire first class average up to 50 before teams called a halt to play. Knight had been extremely disappointed when dismissed for 52 the previous day, so it was a nice gesture.

However, it appears none of the Kent batsmen felt quite strongly enough to hand Knight, who bowled a rare nine over spell, a second first class wicket.

What has Twenty20 done to D/L?

Another day, another Pro40. Today, though, saw a late season glimpse of Twenty20 batting, after Sky’s televised game from Trent Bridge faced several interruptions. After high winds, lightning and finally an evening drizzle, Warwickshire saw their required total reduced to 124, with some 70 runs to get from just 10.5 overs. Once upon a time, a team would have balked at the sight of a required rate above 6 an over, and the visitors tried their best to suggest this hadn’t changed with the loss of two wickets in as many balls.

These days, however, such recalculations place a strike-rate savvy batting side at an advantage. Whilst I would much rather see a game play on, and wouldn’t know where to start if asked to algebra my way to a better system, Duckworth/Lewis calculations often seem a few runs light on games of significantly reduced length. Nottinghamshire, having rebuilt their innings in their last few overs to place themselves at a competitive total, will feel a little hard done by.

What this result does do is ensure that Nick Knight has played his last domestic one-day game. Having announced his retirement at the end of this season, this final win places Warwickshire safe from relegation. A pity, then, that he lost his wicket for a mere 9 runs, from an ill-advised prod outside off stump.