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7.10pm: George Dobell’s round-up
Maybe it is genetics, maybe it is coincidence, maybe it is simply a respect for the timeless values of cricket, but the Compton family seem to like batting at Trent Bridge.
Here, on the ground where Denis enjoyed such success, his grandson Nick provided another reminder of his considerable qualities with the third century – and second double-century - of what is already turning into a remarkable season. With more than a week to go to the start of May, Compton has already amassed 685 first-class runs at an average of 137. Few are seriously suggesting changes in England’s top-order but here is an interesting (and rhetorical) question to ponder: who, given equal opportunity, would score more Test runs this summer, Andrew Strauss or Compton?
Full report follows soon
Read reports from all today’s games on our County Cricket home page.
Some intriguing final days loom….
5.45pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Worcestershire
Who needs four days for county cricket when you can see all 22 players bat in six hours or so?
Far from building methodically on their slender advantage of 21, Surrey slid to 59 for five as Alan Richardson enjoyed himself yet again with another three wickets to add to yesterday’s six.
When Tom Maynard lifted Richard Jones limply to mid-off, Surrey’s lead was only – if only is the right word – 80 and Chris Jordan became the 22nd batsman to walk to the middle today.
4.20pm: Jon Culley at Middlesex v Durham
Finally reached tea here, a mere 38 minutes late and there have been no interruptions. Middlesex are minus two on their over-rate but have pulled it round a bit in the match. Durham were 109 for two at one point; they're now 173 for six.
Steven Finn has bowled a little better this afternoon than he did this morning, picking up a couple of important wickets in Ben Stokes and Ian Blackwell. Still not quite right but it is his first bowl in a first-class match at Lord's since July so allowances perhaps should be made.
Graham Onions picked up his 300th first-class wicket with the third of his six. Should Finn get another three, he'll have six too and 250 in his career.
4.15pm: Paul Edwards at Lancashire v Warwickshire
Lancashire have confirmed that Junaid Khan has been given permission to play for them in both t20 and championship games this season. The Pakistani fast bowler is due to arrive at Old Trafford in June.
4.05pm: Paul Edwards at Lancashire v Warwickshire
Simon Kerrigan is bowling the first over after tea at Aigburth and the transformation of this match has continued this afternoon. Both Darren Maddy and Rikki Clarke reached their centuries and their 224-run stand for the eighth wicket was only four runs shy of the county’s 87-year-old record against anyone when Maddy edged Kyle Hogg to Stephen Moore at second slip and departed for 112.
All the same, Maddy was plainly delighted to get to his first century since he made 138 against Derbyshire in August 2008 and he will be feeling very pleased with himself this evening. He has helped build a platform from which Jim Troughton’s bowlers may be able to embarrass Chapple’s batsmen later today and tomorrow. At the moment Clarke is 133 not out, which is his highest score for Warwickshire, who have a 64-run first-innings lead with two wickets in hand.
4.00pm: Alex Winter at Kent v Gloucestershire
Tea time at Canterbury. A large part of the afternoon has been spent with the covers on but now it’s nice so naturally we’ve departed for Darjeeling and Vicky Sponge.
The Gloster Boys (proper noun that is – Korea ’52) are in command with a lead of 172 and eight wickets left. They will try to add another 130 before having a crack at the Men of Kent, or should that be Kentish Men - for there is a difference. They’ll have to take them without left-armer David Payne; his side strain from yesterday evening has ruled him out of bowling in the rest of the game.
For the topic of the day...Mark Pennell, to my left, once got locked in at Old Trafford. Had to telephone the main desk to attract a man with a key!
3.55pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Worcestershire
A partnership broke out here this afternoon. At 74 for eight, it was long odds against Worcestershire managing 80, never mind three figures. But a combination of sensible batting and unnecessarily short bowling allowed James Cameron and Richard Jones to add 41 – more than double the previous best stand.
Even after Jones departed, to the fifth slip catch of the innings, Cameron was able to reach 41, the highest score of the match so far, before becoming Meaker’s final victim in career-best figures of six for 39.
Somehow Worcestershire had scrambled to 119 to trail by 21.
Umar Farooq reports from Pakistan on Lancashire's Junaid Khan deal
Lancashire are ultimately able to sign Pakistan seamer Junaid Khan as their overseas player for this seasons Friends Life T20. The PCB delayed Khan permission as the board wanted to ensure seamer’s fitness after he recovered from the Patella injury.
Khan, 22, sustained a fracture of the knee cap during the Twenty20 leg of Pakistan's series against England in UAE in February and has been out of action since then. He earlier was selected for the England series after he had recovered from the abdominal tear he picked during the ODI series against Sri Lanka last year.
He has been given the all-clear by the PCB to feature in Twenty20 and has informed Lancashire about his availability. Junaid will be applying for a UK visa next week.
Recruited last season on the recommendation of Wasim Akram, Junaid made a big impact and helped Lancashire reach t20 finals day last year for the first time in four years, only to miss the climax to the competition after being selected for Pakistan's tour of Zimbabwe.
3.25pm: David Hopps at Yorkshire v Essex
Ravi Bopara finished 117 not out at Headingley after running out the last man, Tymal Mills, in an understandable attempt to steal the strike. Steve Patterson's throw from mid-on ended an excellent last-wicket stand for Essex of 48 in 17 overs, Mills blocking stoutly for two from 41 balls. Yorkshire lead by 47 but tomorrow's forecast is horrendous.
It was a redoubtable effort from Bopara, his first for Essex since last July. Two innings - Phil Jaques for Yorkshire and now, even more strikingly, Bopara for Essex - have been dominated by a single figure.
3.10pm: Paul Edwards at Lancashire v Warwickshire
According to our sources Junaid Khan has been given permission by the Pakistan Cricket Board to play for Lancashire in Friends Life t20 games this season. No news about the championship. We will try to find out more at the tea interval.
3.05pm: George Dobell at Nottinghamshire v Somerset
It’s raining at Trent Bridge. Somerset lead by 78 and Nick Compton, who is enjoying a prolific run of form, is on the brink of his third first-class century of the season. He has also scored a 99 – against Middlesex – and, with more than a week to go until May, is already approaching 600 first-class runs for the season. His current batting partner, James Hildreth, with 317 runs, is the second most prolific batsman in the country at present.
Nick’s grandfather, Denis, rather enjoyed it at Trent Bridge, too. Indeed, it was the Test ground on which he fared best: in seven Tests he scored 955 runs at an average of 95.50, with five centuries including a career best 278 against Pakistan in 1954.
It has been a memorable session for Paul Franks, too. The 33-year-old has not been at his best today but has just taken his 500th first-class victim: Suppiah caught at slip as he attempted a back foot force away from his body. Franks’ first victim was Giles White, way back in 1996.
Play is due to resume at 3.30pm.
Alison Mitchell: Lock-ins revisited
And finally.... while reporting on the India v England Test match in Chennai for BBC Five Live in 2008 I was locked inside a hot, clammy, mosquito-ridden toilet cubicle in the bowles of the Chepauk stadium during tea.
Not having taken my mobile with me, and with the ladies toilets not frequently visited due to the few numbers of female journalists, it was a good 15 minutes before I realised my plaintive cries for help would not be heard.
Luckily, after 20 minutes, two female police officers came in, realised my situation as I balanced on the cistern peering out over the jammed door, and summoned members of India's Rapid Action Force. The RAF were in attendance to counter terrorism in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks. I'm not sure they imagined their services would be required to break down the door of a ladies toilet to rescue a poor English journalist. I was greeted by quite an audience of onlookers by the time they kicked the door in...
2.40pm: David Hopps at Yorkshire v Essex
Ryan Sidebottom finished last season with career-best bowling figures against Somerset (7 for 37 as well as 11 for 98 in the match), a feat that brought Yorkshire victory in their last game of the season but one which ultimately failed to spare them from relegation.
He has five wickets today, removing Tim Phillips and Maurice Chambers in consecutive overs after lunch. Just like his father, Arnie, passions are never far from the surface when Ryan bowls. But while Arnie used to become an exasperated, red-faced figure, looking so agonised that one imagined his bones were becoming more brittle by the minute, Ryan’s moods are deeper, like swirling eddies in dark rivers.
Ravi Bopara was 72 not out when the ninth wicket fell; 80 not out when a heavy shower drove the players from the field at 160 for 9. The players soon came back onto the field, accompanied by a pied wagtail, but it could be on-and-off stuff for the rest of what has been an unmemorable day. Many league fixtures in the region have been cancelled well before the off.
I have just bumped into Geoff Cope and his guide dog Kemp. Cope, a former England and Yorkshire offspinner and great servant of the game, is now secretary of the Yorkshire Players Association. He is also a football lover and is a vice president at Halifax Town where one of the directors, Stuart Peacock, is about to start is 55th season of league cricket. That is impressive. But today is the first time I have missed the start of a season since 1989, and I have retired, in theory at least, so it was a story that did me no good at all.
2.30pm: Jon Culley at Middlesex v Durham
Angus Fraser would not have been much impressed with Steven Finn so far. No one adhered to the doctrine of line and length more rigidly than the Middlesex managing director of cricket yet Finn has been unable to find any kind of consistency with either. He has not long since made the first breakthrough by sending Michael di Venuto's off stump cartwheeling but the ball he bowled to produce that result was by no means typical of what had gone before.
There has been a high proportion of half-volleys and long-hops from the England seamer, with 'keeper John Simpson obliged to field quite a few down the leg side. There is a feeling he is trying a little too hard to get something out of this pitch after Middlesex struggled to 188 all out.
Maybe he is feeling the heat a little with Graham Onions eager to put pressure on his place. Onions, whose rhythm is looking well grooved in his second match of the season, finished with six for 45, the third of those wickets taking him to 300 first-class in his career.
Finn has gone for half a dozen boundaries in his opening eight overs but the Di Venuto wicket has kept him in the attack for the moment. Tim Murtagh has dismissed Will Smith and Durham, who were 59-0, are 69-2.
Fraser, incidentally, will not be here tomorrow. At the age of 46 he is running the London Marathon in aid of the Shooting Stars children's hospice. Support him at http://www.justgiving.com/angusfrasermarathon
2.15pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Worcestershire
As a wag in the press box just said, this is a bit like dice cricket: roll a five and you’re out. Alexei Kervezee’s number came up during the second over after lunch and Ben Scott’s followed soon after.
That made it three wickets for Lewis and three for Meaker before Worcestershire could celebrate a half-century. A team half-century, that is.
1.55pm: Paul Edwards at Lancashire v Warwickshire
Locked in a ground? Don’t get me started. The first time was at the Oval in September 2007 when Surrey’s cheery gauleiters had decreed that all the gates between sections of the sponsorama should be padlocked. I eventually climbed some fences, tramped across the outfield and exited via the pavilion in a state of dishevelment .
Then last August I was working late at Trent Bridge, having checked with reception that my plan would not inconvenience anybody. At ten past nine I made my way downstairs, not noticing that the only lights on were of the 24-hour security variety. When I got to reception the darkness was stygian and only pipistrelle bats were likely to be staffing the desk.
I returned to the press box and eventually contacted Nottinghamshire’s groundsman Steve Birks, who immediately offered to send round the security people. I was released 45 minutes later, although my hotel’s attempt to recreate the atmosphere in Stalingrad around 1951 ensured that it was nothing like as congenial as Trent Bridge’s mavellous press box.
1.20pm: Alison Mitchell joins the lock-in stories
I've been locked inside the Ken Turner stand at Northants when there was seemingly no one left at the ground to let me out. Fortunately from the glass windows on the ground floor I could see Kepler Wessels and Bilal Shafayat walking away from me across the outfield towards the indoor school. I banged on the glass loud enough for them to turn around and notice me... otherwise I could easily have been there all night.
I was locked OUT of the stand where the commentary box is situated in Kent after my post-match interviews. The only way I could get back up into the stand was by the dressing room attendant and Darren Stevens taking me up into the Kent dressing room (past a bemused Geraint Jones on exercise bike). I then had to perform a sort of cat-burgler manoeuvre to get from the dressing room balcony into the lower reaches of the stand next door and therefore into the commentary box.
It wasn't the only incident at Kent... Long after play had finished one evening I nipped to the public toilets just before packing up my gear in the comm box, and whilst in there I heard groundstaff lock up the entire toilet block from the outside. My shouts weren't to be heard. However, I did have my mobile phone with me.
Unfortunately the only Kent CCC number programmed into my phone was that of the chief executive at the time, Paul Millman. Not the type of call he would expect from a journalist. He was nearly home himself but he did phone the groundstaff to get them to come back and let me out.
I have another one, too - and will offer that one later.
1.10pm: George Dobell at Nottinghamshire v Somerset
I wonder if any bowler has ever been hit for a six in the same session by Nick Compton and Arul Suppiah? They have now. Samit Patel has been pulled for one six by Suppiah and lofted for another by each batsman over long on. The conditions have not provided much assistance for the spinner, but Patel has struggled this morning.
It has been an excellent first session for Somerset. Nick Compton and Arul Suppiah have extended their overnight partnership to 166, with the latter reaching the seventh first-class century of his career. Somerset already lead by 16.
The pitch may well have eased a little, but Nottinghamshire’s seamers may reflect that they failed to make the batsmen play enough. After a quiet first hour, both batsmen became more aggressive and the session was summed up when Suppiah pulled a Patel long-hop for six to take Somerset into the lead.
1.05pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Worcestershire
Four more wickets, another terrific catch and this match is making progress despite the best efforts of the weather to wreck it.
Vikram Solanki must have thought he would get away with a thick edge after being being squared up by Jon Lewis but Chris Jordan, at point, dived high and right to grab a chance that looked to have passed him.
Surrey’s decision to give Zander de Bruyn the new ball didn’t work; the introduction of Stuart Meaker did with two wickets in four balls. Worcestershire are a wobbly 38 for four in reply to 140.
12.45pm: Paul Edwards at Lancashire v Warwickshire
Rikki Clarke must be rather fond of Aigburth. Last year his seven catches equalled the record for the number pouched by an outfielder in an innings. Today his excellent half-century is rapidly changing the shape of this absorbing contest.
Coming to the wicket with Warwickshire still needing 19 to avoid being asked to follow-on, Clarke removed the possibility of his team facing that indignity when he lifted Simon Kerrigan for a straight six. At the moment he is 68 not out having hit Kerrigan for three maximums. This has been hitting, not slogging; a calculated assault rather than a desperate thrash. Warwickshire’s first-innings deficit is becoming all the more manageable with every blow. And Darren Maddy has reached his fifty too, having batted much more circumspectly than Clarke, but no less valuably.
12.35pm: David Hopps at Yorkshire v Essex
Ravi Bopara experienced challenging early-season wickets in 2011 when he chose to remain in county cricket, shunning an IPL contract, to try to win an England Test place. He found no obvious benefit, with Eoin Morgan (who had been at IPL) preferred for the first Test, but the knowledge he gleaned has held him in good stead.
Bopara has passed fifty on a morning where Yorkshire have taken two wickets in the first 90 minutes. The overrate has been desultory and the bowling patchy. But James Foster has been smartly caught at slip off Ryan Sidebottom, so releasing Sidebottom from a moody spell, and Ajmal Shahzad has bowled David Masters. Bopara has been dropped on 50, however, by Phil Jaques in the slips off Shahzad, the last man that Yorkshire wanted to offer a life.
Tim Phillips is batting at No. 10 with a runner for Essex after suffering back spasms on the opening day. It was the second piece of misfortune for Essex, who also lost Graham Napier to a minor calf ailment in the warm-up. About 25 minutes before lunch, Essex’s deficit is 112 with three wickets left.
12.25pm: Jon Culley at Middlesex v Durham.
Middlesex are all out for 188. Onions has six for 45.
I can tell my colleague Mr Hopps that Headingley has form in this regard. Linger long in the Carnegie Pavilion and you're asking for trouble. Yorkshire rent the facility from Leeds Metropolitan University and you imagine they must pay to use it by the hour, possibly by feeding coins into a meter.
Covering a Championship match there last year, which finished soon after lunch on Saturday, I settled in my seat to transcribe a long interview, hammer out a 600-word match report and prepare a 400-word round up of developments elsewhere, only to be told that every exit from the building would lock in something like 40 minutes and that there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.
Fortunately, Geoff Cope, the former spin bowler and one-time director of cricket who is now registered blind, had popped into the box, guide dog at his feet as always. He took sympathy, made a couple of calls and arranged for me to work from a corner of a bar (closed) on the rugby side of the ground.
But that wasn't the last impediment in my way. When I had filed my last piece, trudged back via the long route to the media car park, which is behind the adjoining Leeds Rhinos rugby ground at the furthest diametrically opposite point possible from the Carnegie Pavilion, I found the car park too had been locked.
Luckily, the man in the gatehouse at the main entrance found someone on the ground with a set of keys and I was released. They know how to look after the media at Headingley...
12.15pm: David Lloyd at Surrey v Worcestershire
What is that old expression about things coming back to bite you on the posterior? Less than a week after ‘supremo’ Chris Adams was highly critical of the Lord’s pitch, Surrey have been dismissed for 140 at The Oval – their lowest first innings total on this ground since 1999, according to those who keep such statistics.
Don’t know about the Lord’s surface but, in fairness, there is nothing wrong with this pitch. Or, at least, nothing wrong with this pitch given we are still in April and the weather has been damp and grey for a while.
Inevitably, the ball is doing enough to give seamers a healthy advantage. And when nicks are backed up by the kind of brilliant catch which keeper Ben Scott held – one-handed, off an inside edge, diving low and left – batsman are always going to struggle.
Scott’s wonderful take did for Stuart Meaker and allowed Alan Richardson to finish with six for 47 from 20 overs.
12.00pm: Alex Winter at Kent v Gloucestershire
Hello all, sunny in Canterbury where the hosts have been Gidmaned – two more for him this morning completing his five-for. Gloucestershire lead by 105 runs on first innings – quite an advantage.
I’ve never been locked in a cricket ground but have been locked in the vicinity of one: getting into difficulty in a quest for free parking at New Road – the tale for which Kenny Shovel’s second blog was quite appropriate. Refusing to pay £5 parking ahead of Worcestershire v Gloucestershire in the Twenty20 Cup, circa 2005, I took a track behind the ground, past the King’s School playing field and saw several cars lined up in a field behind the D'Oliveira stand. Perfect! In went my Polo and my friend and I went to prop up a mobile bar on the cathedral side of the ground.
Gloucestershire were hammered. But we remained at the ground for maybe an hour after the close – a sunny New Road is quite a drinking spot (I’d relegated myself onto lemonade at this stage).
So to depart and on finding the field in which I had parked, the gate was closed. So I drove off in the opposite direction, through several adjoining fields attempting to find a way out. The route was blocked with hedgerows and the only possible exit had to be the River Severn. Down the towpath I drove, past various curious-looking boatmen. Alas the towpath was also blocked by a gate and the council office – the gatekeepers – was closed.
Back down the towpath, through the fields and up the track past King’s School. We arrived at two impossible-to-bypass bollards – as much as I tried to use the parallel ditch – and were about to leave for the train station when a heaven-sent member of staff from the school appeared from their grounds, produced a set of keys and set us free. Relief, a prayer of thanks as we drove past Worcester Cathedral, and the promise, in my good friend’s words, to never be such cheapskates ever again.
11.20am: George Dobell at Nottinghamshire v Somerset
Morning from Trent Bridge. We’ve started on time and Somerset have continued to accumulate without alarm in spite of another good spell from the impressive Harry Gurney.
It is, in the words of Brian Rose “pretty certain” that Marcus Trescothick will not play any more cricket for the “next couple of weeks at least”. Trescothick suffered a recurrence of an old ankle ligament injury in the field yesterday. He was taken for scans in Derby and will see a specialist in Exeter at 2pm on Monday.
He could, however, bat “with a runner and in an emergency” in this game, according to Rose.
11.20am: David Lloyd at Surrey v Worcestershire
Well, Hoppsy – you’ve started something here with your Great Escape line. I can’t remember being locked in a ground, but I was stuck in a lift inside a deserted ground which might have been even worse.
It was at the WACA in Perth and my attempt to contact outside life by pushing the panic button brought absolutely zero response. More in hope than expectation I tried the mobile phone and, as luck would have it, there was enough of a signal to get through to a journalist colleague in his hotel room.
“Thank goodness for that, mate – could you nip back to the ground and see if you can find someone to let me out?”
“No problem,” came the reply. “Only thing is I’ve just ordered room service so I may be half an hour or so.”
11.10am: Jon Culley at Middlesex v Durham
After continuing his good start to the season with three more wickets at Lord's yesterday, Graham Onions was never likely to suggest that the pitch is a minefield for batsmen. Middlesex lost their first three wickets while scoring only two runs following the second-ball dismissal of Andrew Strauss.
Onions argued that Neil Dexter's innings proved that batsmen could prosper and that if the track two strips along from this one is at all similar then the criticism levelled at it by the likes of Chris Adams, the Surrey director of cricket who said it was the worst he had seen at Lord's, seems harsh.
"The pitch is seaming a little bit but you've got to remember the conditions," he said last night. "On the first day it was under covers practically all day, it didn't really get cut, it didn't really get rolled and we were very fortunate that we won the toss. But it has not been dangerous, it has not done a massive amount.
"The ball has swung but as we saw Neil Dexter play some fantastic shots . He showed that if you work hard and chose the right balls to play you can score some runs as well. If the wicket is like the one Surrey played on then maybe the criticism was a little bit harsh. Basically this is a decent wicket."
Nonetheless, Middlesex have lost another two wickets and one of them, crucially, is Dexter, out to the third ball of the day.
10.50am: David Lloyd at Surrey v Worcestershire
The idea of waiting until both teams have batted before delivering a verdict on the pitch is generally sound. It does seem, though, that this surface is giving seam bowlers an almost perfect amount of assistance: just enough sideways movement to take the edge rather than miss it by inches.
There is bound to be help for bowlers in damp, juicy conditions like these – and when you add a craftsman with the skill of Alan Richardson to the mix then batsmen had better beware.
Richardson has taken five of the wickets in a score of 123 for seven. Collectively, though, Surrey could be even more of a handful with Jon Lewis, Stuart Meaker, Jade Dernbach and Chris Jordan all on duty in this match.
More showers are forecast. And more wickets, at relatively cheap cost, are confidently predicted.
10.45am: Paul Edwards at Lancashire v Warwickshire
Morning from a fresh and far from freezing Aigburth where the third day of game between Lancashire and Warwickshire has already claimed its first victim: umpire Tim Robinson has a leg strain and will be replaced by Martin Saggers.
Glen Chapple’s men will be hoping the substitute official gets a good view of them forcing home the advantage they ground out with a mixture of attrition and aggression yesterday. The visitors go into the first session 182 runs behind with five first-innings wickets in hand. Such situations became pleasingly familiar to home supporters last year, when they watched Lancashire win four of their six Championship games at this venue. Their optimism will be bolstered by the grip and turn Simon Kerrigan and Gary Keedy extracted from the second-day wicket yesterday evening. There is, however, a good contingent of Midlands supporters on the ground who may have been encouraged by Darren Maddy’s obduracy in making 16 not out.
9.45am: David Hopps on the fairly early shift
For the brightest updates from today's county matches, look no further than ESPNcricinfo's live blog.
While we are yawning, stretching and generally moving slowly into another weekend, take a look at our new, unrivalled match-report service at our county cricket home page.
Younger readers may never have heard of Ian Botham's charity walks in aid of leukemia research. Older readers will wonder how he still has the energy to do them. Alan Gardner joined Both's yomp around the Norfolk countryside this week and was so exhausted by the fresh air that he has taken four days off to recover. It is fortunate that we did not ask him to track Andy Flower around the London marathon tomorrow. Read On The Road With Beefy.
To get our reporters thinking, I was caught in a pincer movement at Headingley yesterday: the match dragged on until seven, a chat with Tymal Mills finished at twenty to eight and, just as I reopened the laptop, a steward told me I had 10 minutes to leave the pavilion before it was locked. There are rumours of a secret escape route but I have never found it.
This is far from unknown. County cricket is desperate for publicity but anybody trying to provide it is in regular danger of being locked in a cricket ground. I went one better last year and was locked in a park in Cardiff walking from the Swalec to the city centre after a day at the Test and only got out, through a tiny hole in a thick hedge, because I was guided to it by a girl who used it for one of her nightly drug runs. Or so she told me.
Anybody been locked in a cricket ground? We may hear more horror stories later.
And for those wanting weather reports, just keep an eye on the Twitter feed to the right of this column from all the county media officers.
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David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.