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New Stars Emerging In The Championship

What fun the new-format County Championship is turning out to be. Covid has been horrid, but live streaming has saved the day, given us new pleasures. If your game of choice is not too engrossing, or has finished early, just fly over to Trent Bridge, or Southampton, or Old Trafford, as I did. At Trent Bridge, I watched an old favourite Tim Bresnan steer Warwickshire home in a tight finish. At the Ageas Bowl, I saw Craig Overton and Josh Davey swing it round corners to prise out determined...

Warriors At The Crease: Inside The Mind Of An Opener

The redoubtable commentator Henry Blofeld once observed one day cricket is an exhibition; a test match is an examination. If so its keenest students are the opening batsmen. The single minded, tactic driven obsessives who commence the innings. They face the new ball and a bowling attack designed to unsettle and probe for weakness. If the toss is lost there could also be the small matter of a turning wicket favouring the bowlers. An opener may have the full repertoire of shots in their locker;...

The Thrill Of The Chase

This year’s abandoned IPL involved a familiar procession at the toss. Meet in the middle, make your call, win the toss, bowl first (unless your name is Rohit Sharma in Chennai). It’s a well-rehearsed act in T20 cricket, almost automatic at this point. So established is the urge to chase that it takes little imagination to guess what the winning captain will politely opt for. With this familiarity, one would expect a matching level of competence. Surely, teams are so used to chasing scores...

The Championship’s Super Weekend

Raw numbers paint the picture. The viewership of Yorkshire’s live stream hovered consistently around 3,500. As the afternoon ticked along, so too did the flow of viewers.  The steady click of electronic turnstiles turned into a stampede, as people raced to view the climax of Northamptonshire’s visit to Headingley. As soon as Northants lost the ninth wicket, attendees arrived en masse.  The numbers whirring upwards like an odometer fraud in reverse. 3,981, 4,121, 4,333, 4,550, 4,670...

England’s Unlikely Openers

A few games into the County Championship season and you tend to get an idea of the players that may be knocking down the door for England selection. With none of England’s incumbent top 3 in sparkling form, and question marks hanging over the head of Rory Burns in particular, it’s time to look at some players who are quietly chipping away in the background but who may provide a stable option in the upcoming coming Tests against New Zealand. Surprisingly for batsmen in April, runs have been...

T20: The Thinking Man’s Game?

The IPL is polarising. If you love first class cricket and, like Michael Holding, you think T20 is a threat to traditional forms of the game, then you probably dismiss the event as a gaudy circus. However, if you just love cricket in general, and you’re grateful for the income that T20 generates, then you probably don’t mind the razzmatazz of India’s premier domestic sporting competition. You might even find it refreshingly vibrant. There’s a danger of generalising here...

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