Lutters’ summer lines (part three)

THE season is in full flow for both professional and amateur cricketers.

Monday, 16th May 2011, 10:05 am

The wife has taken a Polaroid of me (other instant cameras are available) as I seem to spend more time at cricket than at home.

So far the body is holding out, but chickens can’t yet be counted as my ankles seem to be fashioned from biscuits nowadays, no matter how milky my tea.

It’s been a big week in international cricket, off the field rather than on it. England have named three different captains for the three different forms of the game. Andrew Strauss will continue as the Test match skipper, while Alastair Cook, who’s been earmarked as Strauss’ successor for the Test captaincy, takes over the 50-over role and Stuart Broad becomes Twenty20 captain.

No-one can argue with Strauss’ position as the Test captain, after all his last series was in Australia and his side retained the Ashes.

Alastair Cook’s appointment is an interesting one as he couldn’t even get in the squad for the 50-over side for the World Cup. That’s not to say that he shouldn’t have been in the squad, but it seems quite a dramatic u-turn from the England camp.

You also have to wonder what the alternatives are or were, and frankly none spring to mind. Strauss had a poor World Cup as skipper, although he wasn’t helped by some rather bizarre selections and injuries, but he is what I’d call a “stable door” captain, closing the stable door long after the horse has disappeared over the horizon.

Stuart Broad’s ascendancy to captain of the Twenty20 side is also interesting. He is guaranteed to be picked, which is a good thing, but he is a petulant player and is prone to on-field strops. This is clearly not the most desirable trait in a captain, so it will be interesting to see how he goes.

Paul Collingwood has gone on record as being upset about his “sacking” or being overlooked to continue the role as T20 captain as he led the side in lifting the World Cup in 2010, but the guy’s form is wretched, and there’s no room for passengers in the international game, whatever the format.

The other announcement from the ICC this week is that they will roll out the Review System for all forms of international cricket. I think that this is absolutely the right decision. It has become part of the game now and the crowd really get into the suspense of it all.

It’s good to see a sport embrace technology whereupon the standard of the officiating is improved from extremely good to excellent. If only football would take a leaf out of cricket’s book and there would be far less trees cut down to fill the back pages of the tabloids with quotes from disgruntled, beaten managers. FIFA should maybe see it as saving the planet, assuming that England is still part of FIFA in the long term.

Back to domestic matters, Sussex won in the week in what was described as the “Champions Game”, with Sussex the 2010 Champions of Division 2 and their opponents Nottinghamshire the current Division 1 Champions.

The margin of victory was far larger than any Sussex fan or player can have hoped for, as the hosts got over the line with nine wickets to spare. Notts included their two England stars, the aforementioned Broad and Graeme Swann, but neither could make sufficient contributions with ball or bat to alter the result.

I believe that Sussex have improved their bowling immensely over the winter, but injuries have affected the batting significantly so far this season. They are now getting close to full strength but some of the more experienced players need to get big runs – Chris Nash has five half-centuries in a row but has failed to convert any to full blown centuries, which for a guy of that talent is criminal. Sussex have missed out on a number of bonus points this season because they haven’t got enough runs. Let’s hope they can go on a winning run from now on.