May 23, 2003

Twelfth man who scored a hundred

Normally scoring a hundred earns you a few drinks. But Sussex's Kevin Innes ended up carrying them. On a topsy-turvy day at Horsham, Innes scored 103 not out against Nottinghamshire, and then had to make way in the XI for James Kirtley, who was returning from Lord's after being left out of the England side for the first Test.

The bizarre situation occurred as a result of rule changes brought in this season to ensure that players who are included in the England squad and then not used do not miss out on a game for their county. Under the new regulation, a county can nominate a player who can be replaced by a team-mate released from England duty, providing he arrives before the start of the third day's play.

It is many a club cricketer's dream - bat, and then allow others to do all the running around. Innes certainly saw it that way. "Someone in the dressingroom said you could get a hundred and then put your feet up, which sounded great," he explained. "I never thought it would happen, and now I'm quite happy to let James go and have a bowl."

But it would never have happened had the start of the Lord's Test not been delayed by rain. Kirtley would have made it to Horsham in time to bat instead of Innes had his dash down the A24 not been delayed for almost an hour by drizzle.