Security and stupidity
Bumble blogs on silly security guards, England's seam options and why India are wrong on DRS...
Last Updated: 13/07/11 12:52pm
There's a few things worth noting about Old Trafford last Saturday.
Firstly, the ground was full. There were 19,300 people in. It had been sold out for weeks and there was a terrific atmosphere.
It's a great relief that the development of the ground will start in September and we will soon have a world-class venue. There'll be a lot of upheaval in the meantime, but it will be worth it. The North West area needs international cricket.
But I was less impressed with the so-called security at the ground. It was a total nonsense.
The broadcasters were told they could not go through up the pavilion steps and through the pavilion doors. Apparently that is a "sanitised area" for the players.
We have been playing cricket there for more than 100 years and this has never been an issue before, but on this particular date in July 2011 it all changed. The players' dressing rooms haven't moved. The broadcasters still need to go about their work. Why the fuss?
Broadcasters are there to publicise and enhance the game, but they were treated like second-class citizens. I can't stand it when blokes come in and try to make a name for themselves when they know zilch about the game of cricket. Broadcasters pay a lot of money to keep this game going and to keep people like Mr Security in a job.
There's a bloke with a grand title in charge of security and I'd like him to give me a call to talk about Old Trafford. I'd like to talk to him about "sanitised areas"... this isn't a warzone pal!
I look forward to them closing the pavilion at Lord's next week. The players have to go through the Long Room and I assume that will also be a "sanitised area". Are they going to ask the members to find somewhere else to sit?
Security is out of hand at Old Trafford. There's thousands of these people in ill-fitting suits telling people what they can and can't do. That doesn't make it an enjoyable experience for people.
We just want to watch a game of cricket.
Room for improvement
The Test series against India starts next week and England will be full of confidence. They're Ashes winners and they've just beaten Sri Lanka, but they can't afford to rest on their laurels.
There's always areas to improve and what England ideally need is a batter at number six, who can also be used as a fifth bowler. They'd love to find a new Ian Botham or an Andrew Flintoff and there's an opportunity for a young player to force his way in.
I'd suggest that Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott are fairly safe, but if somebody comes along who can bat as well as Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell or Eoin Morgan - and can bowl quickly as well - then those players might be vulnerable.
There's nobody good enough to do that just yet, but one name that comes to mind is Ben Stokes. If he can become as good a batsman as those three then I think he'll get in the team. He's not far away either. This might be a bit presumptuous but I'd say that perhaps in a season-and-a-bit he might get on a tour.
England would like the option of a fifth bowler - but he's got to be good enough to get in as a batsman.
Take your pick
That's for the future. At the moment, we know that England's line-up is pretty much settled. The only position up for grabs is the third seamer to play alongside James Anderson and Chris Tremlett.
There's a choice to be made between Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn and each candidate has outstanding qualities.
Bresnan is rock-solid; he'll bowl all day, he'll pitch the ball up and he also gives you a different dimension with the bat.
Broad is aggressive, tall and has a great action. The only thing stopping him getting more wickets is the fact he's not bowling the right length. He's got everything else - height, bounce and pace - but he needs to be more consistent with his length. He is also a strong batsman.
As for Finn, he does bowl the length and is probably the most solid wicket-taking bowler of the three. I wouldn't be surprised if he plays, even though the other two show good stamina and more with the bat.
Who would I choose? Pass. I wouldn't worry if any of them played.
I can't wait to see India's players, but I'm not a fan of their board's stance on DRS. They've got it totally wrong.
The system will be in place in this series, but they are refusing to allow the use any element of Hawk Eye, which could result in some ludicrous scenarios.
Here's an example for you. A batsman is given out lbw but decides to review on the basis that he thinks he got an inside edge. Hot spot, stump mic and super slo-mo - which can all be used in this series - show that he hasn't hit it and the decision is upheld.
But then the broadcasters use Hawk Eye to show that the ball pitched six inches outside leg stump. The world will be able to see that he should not have been out, but the umpires are not allowed to see that.
Imagine if that batsman is Sachin Tendulkar. DRS could have saved him, but they didn't want to use that system.
This is not a decision that's been driven by the broadcasters; this is the decision of the BCCI.
Sorry India, you've got this totally wrong.
I was watching the Twenty20 game on TV on Tuesday night and Nasser and Athers were talking about the best player never to play for England.
It's got to be Don Shepherd, who played for Glamorgan in the fifties, sixties and seventies. He took thousands of wickets, but never played international cricket.
I texted them to tell them as much and they seemed surprised that I was watching. Well I can tell you that Mrs Lloyd never lets us miss the cricket in our household.
They suggested on air that I might be in the pub. All I'll say is that I was spending some time with Mr Timothy Taylor of Yorkshire and Mr Daniel Thwaites of Blackburn.
Those are two very good friends of mine.
I'd like to mention Claire Taylor, one of the best players that England has ever had, who has announced her retirement from international cricket after a terrific career.
I'm pleased that Sky Sports does its bit to promote the women's game and I always really enjoy covering their matches. They're a good set of lads, if you know what I mean, and it'd be nice for them to get more coverage.
I know Claire and I hope she stays in the game and continues to contribute in some way.
Night's not right
Finally, I've been asked to turn the lights on for the first time at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening.
I'm very pleased to do it and I'd like to thank them for asking me, but I must admit I don't understand why they're playing Twenty20 cricket at night time.
It goes against everything that we proposed about this format back in 2003. Twenty20 cricket was supposed to be for families - but you can't take your children to a game that finishes at 10.30pm.
All decent folk should be in bed at that time of day!