Twenty20 visionJon Culley focuses on the stories that matterKiesy does it
The rivalry between wicketkeepers Craig Kieswetter and Jos Buttler worked to Somerset's advantage in their victory over neighbours Gloucestershire at Taunton, after which Kieswetter revealed how keen he is to restate his position at least as the county's first choice in the four-day game. Kieswetter insists he and Buttler remain on good terms despite losing his place as England's white-ball keeper to his younger colleague and Buttler's ambitions to claim possession of the gloves in all forms of the game, for county and country.
Kieswetter won one battle in April when Somerset announced he would be their man in red-ball cricket, only to suffer a broken thumb in the third Championship match of the campaign. Out of action for seven weeks, he returned last month but has so far played only as a batsman. In that regard he looked in splendid order last night with an unbeaten 89 and egged on Buttler in a stand of 55 off 25 deliveries to set up Somerset's four-wicket win. Yet Kieswetter was clearly thinking of other things when he spoke afterwards. "My thumb is fine and I'm ready to keep wicket again," he said. "I've got some more work to do over the weekend and after that the club will take a strategic decision over who keeps against Sussex in the Championship next week.”Trending
David Collier, the ECB chief executive, was understandably excited by the huge turnout for last night's eight Friends Life t20 matches, which attracted collectively more than 70,000 spectators, of which 22,000 were at The Oval for the derby between Surrey and Middlesex and 15,000 turned out for the Roses match at Headingley - their biggest crowd for a domestic game in nine years. Derbyshire's crowd, at a tad under 5,000, for the visit of neighbours Nottinghamshire was their biggest for 23 years. Collier's view is that such numbers fully vindicate the decision to give the competition a regular Friday night slot in next year's calendar.
Some, however, remain sceptical about how significant Fridays might be. A raft of derbies played in brilliant weather, a touch of Ashes fever and the absence of a football World Cup or a European Championship to take eyes off the small ball must also be factors, surely. There is still a nagging feeling that a season-long T20 league, infrequently visited by England players and unattractive to A-List overseas stars, will slip into ordinariness pretty quickly.The short and the long
In an interesting juxtaposition, the shortest form of competitive cricket will share the stage with an attempt to set a marathon batting record at The Oval a week on Monday. Alby Shale, a 22-year-old university student from Oxfordshire, plans to bat for 26 hours in the Ken Barrington centre at the Surrey ground. He is doing so in aid of a charity set up by his late father, Christopher, to build the first ever cricket stadium in Rwanda. Christopher died aged only 56 in 2011. Among the charity's patrons are BBC cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew, the prime minister, David Cameron, and Brian Lara, who knows a thing or two about batting records himself.
The attempt will begin at 6.45am and continue until 8.45am the next morning. The rules set down by Guinness allow only a five-minute break for every full hour completed – to take on liquids and go to the toilet. The attempt will continue whilst Surrey host Essex on Monday evening. Shale wants as many volunteers as possible to bowl at him – particularly to fill the overnight hours between Monday and Tuesday.
"It would be great to break the record in a double Ashes year because it is currently held at 25 by an Australian,” Shale said. “More importantly, I want to raise as much awareness as possible about the Rwanda Cricket Stadium Foundation
. I’ve been to Rwanda myself to coach cricket and seen a huge enthusiasm for the game but a country sorely lacking in facilities. I will need plenty of bowlers if I’m going to bat for 26 hours. So if anyone wants to come to The Oval to bowl an over at me, or even get their whole cricket team involved, they should drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.”IPL or BPL?
In one respect, Warwickshire's decision to play this afternoon's match against Glamorgan in the pleasantly English and historically rich setting of Rugby School is wonderful, taking cricket out of the concrete and glass of Edgbaston and into the county, which they have not done since playing some Championship rounds at Stratford-on-Avon in 2004 and 2005. Although Rugby School is famed, of course, as the birthplace of a game played with an oval ball, cricket has been played on The Close since the early 1800s and the school hosted matches against the MCC during the 19th century. More recently, Warwickshire have used it for 2nd XI matches and have been impressed in particular with the quality of the square.
Every ticket has been sold for today's fixture, but given a limit of 3,000 you suspect that there might be one of two envious glances from the commercial department in the direction of Lord's and The Oval, after this week's 20,000-plus crowds. As Edgbaston's 25,000 seats blanch a little more under the baking sun forecast this afternoon, will they feel they missed a trick?Verdict:
a little bit BPL.Robin Abrahams' stat of the day
With the debate surrounding wicketkeeping duties at Somerset, it's worth looking at the numbers. Kieswetter needs five more catches to reach 50 in T20s - one behind Surrey's Steven Davies and three short of Essex captain James Foster, generally considered one of the best keepers in the world. Foster's overall tally of 87 includes 39 stumpings, which perhaps better reflects his skills, but Kieswetter has a very respectable 61 (45 catches, 16 stumpings) from 77 innings as wicketkeeper.
Buttler has 36 victims (26 catches, 10 stumpings), though he has only been the designated keeper on 39 occasions. Either way, it's not the worst headache for Somerset to have to deal with. Interestingly, the leading English wicketkeeper is a long-discarded England international in action again today - Durham's Phil Mustard, with 59 catches and 88 overall.