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The ECB’s new friends at Conservative Central Office

Few topics reveal the warped nature of ECB cricketing logic more vividly than their desperation to avoid returning The Ashes to terrestrial TV. And now Lord’s top brass will be pinning their hopes on a Conservative election victory in May. The party’s sports spokesman Hugh Robertson this week implied that a Tory government would not enforce the David Davies review’s recommendations – namely, that home Ashes series be ‘listed’, and available only on free-to-air channels. Robertson’s analysis of...

Afghanistan: cricket’s new frontier?

. It’s hard to think of a more marvellous cricketing story in recent times than Afghanistan’s qualification this weekend for the World Twenty 20. At virtually the same moment as thousands of troops poured into Helmand for the Nato offensive, a thousand miles away in Dubai, the nation’s cricketers were beating Ireland by eight wickets to win the ICC T20 qualifying tournament. It was their fifth win from six games in the competition, including victories over Scotland, UAE and – most resonantly...

England heading into uncharted waters with captain Cook

Let’s just think about this for a second. On the one hand there’s Paul Collingwood – a senior pro with captaincy experience that commands the respect of his team mates (and who is, incidentally, already captain of the T20 side). On the other there’s Alastair Cook, a man with little to no captaincy experience, who doesn’t seem like a natural leader, and who was fighting for his place in the team just three weeks ago. So who is the better candidate to replace Strauss as captain for the upcoming...

Contrivance to cock-up: what the TV review system tells us about cricket

                                            . At the conclusion of this match, each side’s head-coach will select their ‘man of the series’. Andy Flower will most likely nominate the imperious Graeme Smith. Mickey Arthur will probably choose Daryl Harper.       It’s rarely either wise or useful to criticise on-field umpires. But the third official is another matter. On-field, the umpires must concentrate on every single ball, and make a swift decision having viewed the...

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