Author Archives: Rob Steen

Rob Steen: Is KP England’s greatest batsman?

Some will deem it heresy, but as Kevin Pietersen basks in the glow of one of the game’s greatest match-turning innings, his 151 in Colombo, the question cannot be ducked for much longer: has England ever boasted a finer batsman? … Continue reading

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Rob Steen: Did this man play cricket’s most defiant innings?

In a County Championship match at Grace Road in 1971, Glamorgan were teetering on a decidedly unprincely 11 for 8 when Don Shepherd joined Peter Walker. Aware that the lowest first-class total was 12, legend has it Walker said to his … Continue reading

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Rob Steen: Why Broad’s absence hurt England so much

You don’t have to know your way around a calculator, a slide rule or a logarithm table to surmise that, in one-day internationals, runs per over, runs per wicket and runs per match are all running at record levels. Seldom … Continue reading

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In search of a new stat: Rob Steen

Cricket and convention? Think Marks and Spencer, Morecambe and Wise, Lennon and McCartney, Mutt and Jeff. Games may be quicker, bats thicker and fielders lither, but lunch breaks and tea-breaks are still going strong, ditto coin-tosses, wooden stumps, leather-and-cork balls … Continue reading

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Fifty years on, Benaud’s finest moment recalled: Rob Steen

“A rainy Manchester day seems greyer than any other, the roofs seen from the hotel windows look wetter, the houses more sombre.” Thus opens Chapter Four of Richie Benaud’s A Tale of Two Tests. Then came August 1, 1961. On … Continue reading

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Rob Steen: Why Headingley ’81 was really a 900-1 shot

In 2001, readers of The Observer voted England’s probability-scuppering victory in the 1981 Headingley Ashes Test “Britain’s Most Memorable Sporting Moment”. I can’t believe my gob was the only one smacking itself. Not out of disapproval, but sheer incredulity. Granted, … Continue reading

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The Ashes: 1981 v 2005 – Which was better?

“When it comes to unforgettableness, 1981 still floats my boat – and not solely because the 23-year-old is more susceptible to wonder than the 47-year-old…Do You Believe In Magic? That summer I did.” “1981 or 2005? It is like being … Continue reading

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Rob Steen: Napier blitz invokes the ghost of Alletson

“I happened to be recuperating from a strained back sustained in the Derbyshire v Sussex match and saw this inspired innings. Sir Harry Preston was my companion and he was converted by Ted’s innings into a much keener cricket ‘fan’ … Continue reading

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Rob Steen: Coming soon, the supermen stumpers

Wicketkeeping and captaincy? Many would say they go together like a horse and marriage. Or so insists ancient custom and hard-held tradition. At the time of writing, of the 299 men who have captained their country in at least one … Continue reading

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Rob Steen: Slowly does it

Shahid Afridi may bowl a tad briskly for the purist, not to mention celebrate his triumphs a mite excessively, but when it comes to putting a smile on spinners’ faces during a World Cup, he’s done a bang-up job. Together … Continue reading

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