Cricket Captain 2017 – PC review

Cricket Captain – formerly International Cricket Captain – has been updated pretty much annually ever since it first came out in 1998. It’s always been a must for fans and also for administrators. However, we haven’t actually reviewed it in ages, so we thought we’d better address that.

Let’s deal with the obvious question first.

Can you pick Kevin Pietersen as England’s spin bowler and bat him at nine in a Test match?

Of course you can! He didn’t complain or anything. We took this as definitive proof that they could have kept him around after all and it wouldn’t have been a problem. Maybe he wanted to bat at nine and bowl more all along. Maybe that’s what they should have done.

That said, we were slightly taken aback when KP took 5-98 in his first match back in the side. We were far happier with his feisty lower order 41 off 37 balls, which was exactly the kind of thing we were looking for when we selected him.

Can you restrict the game to just Test matches?

Yes! It may not sound much, but this is perhaps the single most important tweak we can remember in the history of the game. In early versions we’d spend hours honing our Test side only to effectively sabotage its chances by half-arseing all the one-dayers. Playing meaningless one-day series was boring, but if you skipped them all your best players lost form.

You can also choose to focus wholly on one-day cricket, T20 or any combination of the three formats. This holds true at both domestic and international levels.

Are the graphics any good?

Do you care? Do you honestly care? This is a strategy game. It’s built on numbers, tables and graphs.

The graphics are fine, albeit far less amusing than those seen in Ashes Cricket 2013 with its ominously waddling umpire and his spectacular effect on fielders.

The menus are clear enough; the main highlights are maybe a bit dated looking, but perfectly serviceable; and Hawkeye is pretty much the same as on TV (although you can’t review decisions, unless we’ve missed something).

Are the numbers, tables and graphs any good?

Yes. Even those who are unconvinced by the worth of beehives, Manhattans and pitch maps in TV coverage will see their value here. They give you a means of deciphering what is and isn’t working in your attempts to bowl out the opposition.

Consult the graphics and you can quickly and easily see where the batsmen are scoring runs and where chances have been created.

Probably worth bowling a bit straighter at Imad Wasim.

Can you play the 1998 series between England and South Africa?

Yes.

Donald v Atherton; Dominic Cork deliberately being an arsehole to Brian McMillan to get him out; Darren Gough suffering from the wild shits; and good old Angus Fraser.

We’re not saying the game simulates all of these things, but you can play the series and fill in the gaps using your imagination.

Any flaws?

We’ve spent long hours playing this game over the years, so there’s an element of nit-pickery about this, but we’ve always thought that it was slightly caught between two stools.

There’s the strategy game, where you pick players, train them and combine them to make your team; and then there’s the tactical game, where you set your field, decide where to bowl and make your bowling changes.

The two are obviously linked, but there are times when the tactical side can feel like time-consuming micromanagement that’s keeping you from discovering whether your long-term masterplan will come to fruition. Sadly, autoplaying matches is still greatly counterproductive, so it isn’t really an option.

Does it feel realistic?

This is often a stumbling block for cricket games. When you’re forever being bowled out for under 100 or you can’t help but rack up 500-plus every time you bat, gameplay suffers, regardless of whether the opposition is making similar scores.

We haven’t done a full 20-season test run-through, but from what we’ve seen so far, the game performs well in this department. Batsmen approach Twenty20 with the correct boundary-hitting intent and Test totals have taken in everything from whopping declaration totals to fourth innings skittlery on a deteriorating pitch.

Worth the investment?

It’s available via Steam for £18 at the minute, which isn’t too sizeable an outlay in this day and age. If you haven’t played it before, it’s definitely worth a go. If you have, you may find the latest version resolves a few of the irritations from some of the older instalments.

We’ve found T20s particularly good because you can come up with a system and the games are of manageable enough size that you can watch more of the highlights and get a bit more of a feel for how things are panning out.

There are mobile editions too, although we haven’t played those. Let us know if you have and what they’re like in the comments section.

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20 Appeals

  1. Excellent work. Can’t wait for the un-PC review. This reminds me that I’m yet to play the Bradman game I bought months ago on the strength of your recommendation. I just don’t seem to be able to find the time 😉

    • King Cricket

      July 12, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Would you believe that’s the first time we’ve ever seen the PC review joke.

      Doesn’t seem possible, does it?

      • How have you managed to balance your long term test team strategy with fatherhood? I’m tempted to get a copy for the iPad but fear I may have to give up work to fit it in.

      • King Cricket

        July 12, 2017 at 5:40 pm

        The evening shift involves quite a lot of sitting down.

  2. I realised the other day that I am now older than Gus Fraser was during that 1998 series.

  3. King Cricket

    July 12, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Islamabad United manager…

  4. I have just realised what KC has done for us in the first picture.

    The virtual test match is England v South Africa at Trent Bridge, just like the test match that starts tomorrow.

    But KC’s virtual Trent Bridge test is a day/nighter, whereas tomorrow’s match is not. Also, KC’s virtual test involves AB De Villiers and Chris Woakes, whereas in reality neither of this guys will play.

    In short, KC’s screen grab is an homage to that wonderful series of paintings, The Empire Of Light by René Magritte:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Empire_of_Light

    Well batted, KC.

    • I’m going to be in that picture tomorrow. Right at the top, very back row, left-hand side of the middle bit. It’s an AWESOME place to watch cricket from. It was from there that I watched Stuart Broad take 8 for very few against Australia a few years ago. I was there that day, if you weren’t already aware. And indeed I was also there that day if you were aware. Your level of awareness can hardly change history, can it.

      What makes it a great place to watch from is partly the view, but mostly that there is a small bar appended to each of the outer extremes of the middle building. So a trip to the bar, which would normally involve standing in a queue with a view of the concrete underside of the stands, for me involves stepping over the back of my seat and standing in a queue with a view of the cricket.

      Not that I’m advocating heavy drinking at the cricket. I will do as I always do, and resolve on the train down to have my first drink about half an hour before lunch. And my friends will do as they always do, and have a pint ready for me when I arrive at 10:45.

      • King Cricket

        July 13, 2017 at 11:37 am

        It’s what friends are for.

      • I’m there now. Can you see me?

      • King Cricket

        July 14, 2017 at 2:55 pm

        Is that you in white, wearing a helmet, with a bat in your hand?

      • Bert looks like a completely filled-in black circle, KC.

        His picture adorns every posting he makes on this site.

        I don’t understand what has happened today. Normally the opposition is 60 all out before lunch when Bert goes to Trent Bridge.

        Bert, what’s gone wrong your end?

      • King Cricket

        July 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm

        Maybe he didn’t start drinking early enough. That could have influenced on-field proceedings.

      • I find that idea very hard to believe/hard to take, KC. I am convinced that Bert is a commensurate professional in such matters.

        Perhaps it has something to do with the relative quality of the opposition.

        Dig the “cricketer spotted” column in Cricket Badger this week, btw, though I say so myself.

        I must admit that “Strauss and son clearing their trays in a service station” last week was right up there, but the quintessential cricketer spotted, for me, is a bowler in a railway station.

      • I can see two large white circles in said photo but not a black one.

      • I put a proper effort in this year. The friends I normally meet inside the ground had decided to meet me outside the ground, and one of them had been told he couldn’t take his cans of G&T in. So we were obliged to drink them there and then. Two G&Ts before 10:50, that’s test standard drinking, that is.

        And in case anyone thinks that my relative eloquence is proof that I’m making this up, you’re my best mate, you are. No, I mean it, I love you. Not that other bastard though, he’s a bastard, I hate him. Who said that? I’ll fight anyone, me. Zzzzzzzz.

      • King Cricket

        July 14, 2017 at 9:06 pm

        That smacks of being Twenty20 drinking if anything. Rapid start but out within the hour.

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