Sim Series: Sri Lanka v England – if real sport’s off we’re just going to have to improvise

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Like pretty much everything else at the minute, the Sri Lanka v England Test series is postponed or possibly just completely cancelled because of Coronavirus. The only logical thing for a cricket website to do in this situation is to play out two Test matches between Sri Lanka and England on Cricket Captain 2018’s ‘All-Time Greats’ mode… Welcome to Sim Series.

It’s going to work like this: We’re going to play two Test matches between Sri Lanka and England on Cricket Captain 2018 and we’re going to report on them day-by-day as if they’re taking place when the real-life Tests would have taken place. So it’ll be day one of the first Test on Thursday, day two on Friday and you can hopefully work out how things will go after that.

If you’re wondering why we aren’t playing the series using the current teams, the clue’s in the fact that we’re playing Cricket Captain 2018.

If you’re wondering why we’re using Cricket Captain 2018 – it’s the version we’ve got. This is no time to be making rash investments on the latest versions of cricket computer games. (Or maybe it’s the perfect time. Either way we’re not doing it. If the developers offer us a free copy for basically advertising their product, we’re still going to use the 2018 version because if this website stands for anything, it stands for stubbornly doing pointless self-defeating things for no real reason.)

Plus All-Time Greats mode is way more fun. We may even give you all input on team selection ahead of the second Test. We don’t see Chris Silverwood and Joe Root giving you that option, so this is already better than real life. (Either we’ll give you input or we’ll decide to replace Wally Hammond with Keaton Jennings or James Vince purely to piss you off – we haven’t decided which yet.)

One unimportant thing to note is that this inaugural Sim Series actually comprises two ‘one-off’ Tests because Cricket Captain 2018 quite correctly doesn’t let you play a two-Test series because two-Test series are stupid.

First Test

Second Test


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Whilst “working” from home I’ve started watching the Aussie test documentary on Amazon written about in posts passim.

    What struck me was the amount of utterly banal “coaching” that seemed to go on. In summary it seemed to come down to “the next ball is important”. This was repeated endlessly and was even written down on a white board. Something called “process” was bandied about a lot too. The post match coaching debriefs seemed to consist of Aaron Kellett paraphrasing what JL had just said as a means of seeking approval.

    Having said that, it really is well filmed and makes you root for the Aussies (well almost). Well worth a watch.

    1. Langer is so angry and intense. Then suddenly he starts talking about A Star Is Born, the Lady GaGa film. It’s pure David Brent.

    1. Top prediction. We admire your gusto, what with the doubt about who’ll even be playing.

      More predictions, people.

      1. England to mess it up, somehow, from a commanding position.

        Sri Lanka to reach 150/0 at some point.

        The ‘all-time greats’ teams to inexplicably feature players beloved of this website and its readers, to the exclusion of seeming more obvious candidates.

        Someone who never really bowled in real life to bowl a surprising number of overs.

      2. The last of those is our favourite.

        On team selection, we are honestly going to try and do it properly in the knowledge that the whole premise is fundamentally ridiculous.

  2. Will there be video clips? Will there be sound bites?

    Will it start at 4.00 in the morning so we have to wake up really early to take in the whole start of test match atmosphere?

    Will there be rain delays, enabling people like me to recycle old yarns of great matches gone by such as the time I myself played on the Galle Fort ramparts?

    If so, it’s going to be cracking good. Great idea, KC.

    1. It’s not going to be live-live. You’ll get a sort of session-by-session report in the UK morning instead.

      Play could be rained off. That is a thing that happens.

      There won’t be video clips.

      On the plus side, there won’t be any interviews with the players.

      1. Might play be diseased off? That is a thing that happens too. Even in cyberspace.

        For example, I remember an on-line top trumps game…marvellous it was…until suddenly…virus! Gone!

      2. It may well get diseased off. That would not be an in-game development though.

  3. Selection thoughts, given that we are playing in Sri Lanka.

    Ali Cook might be the best opener we’ve ever had against spin. Possibly pair him with Graham Gooch.

    Denis Compton, Jack Hobbs & Ken Barrington as the middle order from heaven.

    Ben Stokes has a decent claim, given that you barely need a seam option, so go for a proper batsman and/but the reverse swing pace bowling might be helpful at times.

    Wilfred Rhodes has a good claim on the all-rounder slot. The other spin bowlers, for me, would be Deadly Derek Underwood and Jim Laker.

    Alan Knott behind the stumps for me.

    They’ll need some captaining, that lot. I’d go for Gubby Allen. More bits and pieces than all-rounder at test level, but good enough and his medium pace might come in handy in Ceylon (as he would call it). Anyway, he’s Middlesex, MCC and (importantly) a gentleman.

      1. Yes, the Stokesy or Beefy question was one of the hardest of the selection decisions.

        In England I’d have gone for Beefy, but I think Stokesy is more likely to win you a match in Sri Lanka than is Beefy.

        Tough on the old soak but there you go.

        Anyway, the side I’ve chosen is going to be hard enough to skipper without throwing Beefy into the mix.

      2. It will be end of 2017 Stokes rather than 2020 Stokes, which is a somewhat different chap. Mind you, do we get 1981 Botham or 1992 Botham? Who were chalk and cheese, or at least cricketing god and broken down bombast monger.

        Does Hedley Verity get a look in, both for his devastating slow left arm bowling and the wonderful feel of his name on the palate.

      3. Impossible to say what exact vintage the All-Time Greats are. Maybe at their peak, maybe some sort of career average level ability.

        Definitely not late era Botham though.

  4. If it’s an all time XI match played in Sri Lanka surely whoever England picks Murali bowls them out for 130ish…

  5. Stats!

    If we were to choose a top 7 based purely on stats we could go for runs scored in SL which would give:

    Foakes (Wk)

    If we want to go by average we get:

    R Smith
    Foakes (Wk)

    Gower, Smith, and Bairstow all only played 1 test though and Trott 2, so if we raise the bar to 3 then we get Thorpe, Pietersen, Buttler and Bell, a pretty similar list to the first (unsuprisingly).

    Foakes has by far the best batting stats of anyone who has played at least 2 tests in SL.

  6. SF Barnes would surely go well on Sri Lankan pitches. Fully expect him to out bowl Murali and finally settle the argument about who was the greatest of all time.

    You’ll need a strong captain though, and don’t forget to book a hotel room for his wife.

  7. Who would have thought it, King Cricket at the cutting edge of the eSports revolution? Albeit by encouraging debate of which half-century-dead betrousered white men should be simulated with promises of snapshotted stills and text scorecards.

    1. It’s the way forward.

      Quite whether we’ll actually be going forward any time soon is another matter.

    2. Smudge: Are you saying KC is mildly racist? It sounds like you are saying KC is mildly racist. This is wrong.

      KC is definitely not mildly racist. This needs to be emphasised. Repeatedly. To everyone.

  8. No play yet. Wet outfield keeping the players in?

    (Actually I’ve forgotten if this was going to be played in Sri Lanka time or UK time)

  9. Use proper Sri Lankan pitches and have Murali out injured. 750-2 dec. by each side, petering out into a dull draw.

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