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Laying down the Law for Sri Lanka

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Oliver Brett | 08:00 UK time, Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Amid a certain amount of chaos within Sri Lankan cricket following their second successive failure to win a World Cup final, the elevation of assistant coach Stuart Law to the main role provides a note of calm.

Sri Lanka will become the second touring team to play a Test match in Cardiff on Thursday - and their tour of England (and Wales) continues all the way through to 9 July, before they head to Edinburgh for two one-day internationals against Ireland and Scotland.

Their two opening matches went pretty well, a win against a weak Middlesex side followed by a come-from-behind triumph against the much stronger England Lions.

Those results followed a pre-tour build-up which was anything but easy.

The resignations of captain Kumar Sangakkara and the selectors in the wake of the World Cup were predictable enough. More unsettling was the retirement from Test cricket of fast bowler Lasith Malinga, and an unpalatable tug-of-war between the national board and the Indian Premier League, which meant five players turned up after the first warm-up match.

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When West Indies ruled the world

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Oliver Brett | 10:30 UK time, Wednesday, 18 May 2011

West Indies were once known as the "calypso cricketers". It was a slightly patronising description which reflected the fact that while, at their best, they could provide rich entertainment, all too often they went home a beaten side.

Then something happened. They became good, very good indeed as the authoritative captaincy of Clive Lloyd turned them into a brilliant match-winning machine. They had the game's most dominant batsman, Viv Richards, and the most fearsome fast bowlers in the world.

The great era of Caribbean cricket, which began with their success in the inaugural World Cup of 1975 and continued into the early 1990s, is viewed with a greater sense of nostalgia now than ever before in light of the prolonged demise the game has endured in the Caribbean since then.

And so it is that when watching Stevan Riley's new film Fire in Babylon, which goes on general UK release on Friday, you cannot help but feel those glory days are lost in time, evoking a brand of cricket West Indies will never replicate.

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England build with three-pronged strategy

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Oliver Brett | 15:59 UK time, Thursday, 5 May 2011

England have broken new ground by revealing three separate captains for international cricket, and now they must try to show that it can work.

Andrew Strauss's decision to concentrate exclusively on Test cricket has allowed the leadership position for one-day internationals to pass to Alastair Cook, long considered Strauss's heir apparent.

But the vote of confidence shown in the 26-year-old from Essex comes with a caveat. Cook has been judged as someone who can score quickly enough for 50-over cricket but not for 20-over cricket. This is despite an average of 33.36 at a strike-rate of 129.90 per 100 balls in domestic Twenty20.

It leaves a third position vacant, and rather surprisingly Stuart Broad gets the nod for the Twenty20 captaincy. He is a player who has frequently struggled to control his emotions in the heat of battle. Broad, 24, will also be the first specialist bowler to captain England since Bob Willis.

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