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The Cricketer, 120 New Cavendish Street, London, W1W 6XX email: magazine@thecricketer.com
Middlesex’s Ravi Patel could have done with some spin support at Taunton

Middlesex in a spin

As a Middlesex member I’m not surprised that we have again sufiered a penalty for slow over-rates: the same thing happened previously. In general we always play four seamers and just one spinner, whether we are at Lord’s or away. Even in the game at Somerset, knowing the wicket was a spinners’ paradise, we again played four seamers and Ravi Patel as the lone spinner. Where was Nathan Sowter? In past years we have used two – Fred Titmus and Don Bick, John Emburey and Phil Edmonds, and later Emburey, Paul Weekes and Phil Tufnell. It may be time to prepare wickets for spinners and bring the entertainment factor back into the game.

Les Skinner, Luton

Pocock’s plea

Having played Test cricket over a 17-year period, and being directly involved for a great deal longer, I have experienced various changes of thought on the subject of five-day Tests. Not all countries have the same conditions. Wickets are difierent, some get much more rain than others and yes, drainage has improved. The security position at all grounds demands for much greater stafing, so staging costs have risen dramatically, and one day fewer could mean a huge saving. It may be wise to have experimental four-day games, providing the numbers of overs in the day are increased from the present quota. Thursday to Sunday would still allow the commercial factors to work. I also agree totally with David Lloyd that the players should stop continually leaving the field. The game also slows considerably with three possible DRS analyses. Obviously I have a bias towards spin bowling and I have heard many fans saying that was a great day’s Test cricket as they enjoyed the tussle where fine spinners were bowling to good batsmen. Shorter matches would not help the re-emergence of spin bowlers (but the reason we don’t have more spinners in this country is a drastic lack of knowledge and a shortage of spin-bowling coaches with experience). Although the spinbowling element comes under a difierent heading, the whole idea of four-day Tests is to make Test cricket more attractive across the globe. If you had spinners with the quality of Emburey and Edmonds bowling at, say, Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Steve Smith or AB de Villiers, then there may be no need to alter the duration. You would have more overs in the day and quality cricket being constantly played.

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About The Cricketer Magazine

England’s greatest batsmen – we asked 27 experts to name their top 5, and collated the results. There are some fascinating choices! The superb Simon Barnes, with the best turn of phrase in sports journalism, on England’s year so far. The feisty Jarrod Kimber on the state of play in Australian cricket. The elegant and massively under-rated David Townsend on Adelaide Oval. A lovely piece on the greatness of Dennis Lillee, by Simon Hughes. A forensic look at the problems at Sussex, by the man in the know, Bruce Talbot.