The cricket season is upon us, which can mean only one thing: summer is officially here. But if it’s too cold for you to actually venture outside for some live action, here’s how you can enjoy the finest of all sports on your GALAXY Note II.
Ah, the sweet sound of leather on willow: as sporting connoisseurs will be aware, the season of our national summer sport, cricket, is now upon us, with the County Championship and Indian Premier League getting under way.
If you, like us, rate cricket as the subtlest and most skilful of all sports, you’ll be glad to hear that there are countless ways in which your enjoyment of it can be enhanced via your GALAXY Note II.
As a true cricket-lover, you’ll want to be kept up to the minute with all the latest scores, results and so forth from around the world – and your first stop for all that, plus excellent features and analysis, should be the thoroughly excellent ESPN Cricinfo, Which has its own app (ESPN Digital, free) nowadays, although you can always, given the GALAXY Note II’s unparalleled surfing capabilities, opt for its website. And if your focus is more on what is happening cricket-wise in the subcontinent, you could also try CricBuzz (cricbuzz.com, free).
Let it not be said that the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are the bunch of stuffed shorts they are generally made out to be – they, too, have their own, rather excellent, app (TheOtherMedia, free), which contains a wealth of the latest info relating to the English cricket season.
Meanwhile, an app which could enhance your enjoyment of watching cricket, especially if the weather is dodgy, is the Duckworth-Lewis Calculator (Robert Fear, free), which removes the fearsomely complicated maths from that esteemed means of calculating required scores in rain-affected one-dayers.
Cricket games galore
Stuck in the changing room due to the inevitable downpour? Your GALAXY Note II, at least, can provide the means of staving off any incipient boredom. There are plenty of Android cricket games out there of which our undoubted favourite is Stick Cricket (Stick Sports Ltd, free). It may not be the most sophisticated or best looking cricket game out there, but it’s hellishly addictive.
If it’s a decent approximation of real-life cricket you’re after, World Cricket Championship (Nextwave, £1.88) certainly provides that – along with some mad fantasy power-ups in certain game modes. Beach Cricket (Nextwave, free) is also pretty good fun, and adds a hint of sunny escapism from the gloom of an English summer.
Fancy yourself as a walking cricket encyclopaedia? Collected Wisden Cricket Yearbooks since you were a kid? In that case, you can put your knowledge of leather and willow to the test – and take on your mates who also think they are cricket experts - thanks to a number of cricket quiz and trivia apps.
And there are even apps which come in handy when you’re actually engaged in playing cricket, rather than merely spectating.
The mystical art of scoring a cricket match is one of those arcane skills which is passed down from generation to generation, so there are plenty of people who suffer from bafflement when faced with a cricket scorebook. Android, though, can remedy that – there are plenty of scoring apps.
Chief among which, in our opinion, is Android Cricket Scorer (Tim Carter, free), which lets you perform some whizzy stuff that you can’t do with a traditional scorebook, such as produce wagon wheels for batsmen’s innings. Despite the clunky name, Best Cricket Scorer (Ganapathy Subramaniam, free) is also worth checking out. And the excellently named Criculator (Sanket M Sheth, free) also doubles as a handy ball-counter for umpires – in case you’ve forgotten your pocket-full of stones or coins.
You will notice a number of what purport to be live TV apps tailored towards letting you download feeds of cricket matches on your GALAXY Note II on Google Play – alas, these are, as you might imagine, too good to be true, at least in the UK – they’re aimed squarely at the massive sub-continental market.
In the UK, we pretty much have to rely on Sky Sports for our cricket coverage these days, and if you’re a customer but are spending a lot of time on the go, then downloading the Sky Go app is a must.
If you’re not a customer, there is a standalone Sky Sports app, which streams just the broadcaster’s sports channels to your GALAXY Note II and costs £4.99 per month.
Beware, though: it does take a while to set the service up. BBC Radio 5 Live and Sports Extra are the best repositories for radio cricket commentary, and you can, of course, get both via the BBC iPlayer.
Another often-overlooked aspect of cricket is that it lends itself beautifully to fantasy league-type games, what with its demarcation of bowlers, batsmen, wicket-keepers, spinners, pacemen and all-rounders.
A tad surprisingly, nobody has ever been sufficiently enterprising to create a fantasy league app specifically for Android (there you go, all you developers looking for a gap in the market). But that’s no drawback for GALAXY Note II owners, who are well used to speedy web surfing and have the added bonus of being able to use the S Pen to traverse text-heavy web pages.
If your politics are left-of-centre, mind, you might have to swallow your principles, as there’s no doubt that the daddy of all fantasy leagues is Telegraph Fantasy Cricket, which will take you through a full County Championship season; later on in the season, it will also spawn a sibling that concentrates on the Friends Provident T20. And if the Indian Premier League is more to your taste, then Cricket Inc’s Fantasy IPL 2013 should satisfy – if you really know your stuff, there are even cash prizes up for grabs.
All that remains now is to pray for blue skies and baking hot sunshine. But even if those fail to materialise, you’ll still be able to add a considerable edge to your enjoyment of the sport which more than any other supports a range of skills and provides an unparalleled mix of subtlety and brutality – with the help of your GALAXY Note II.