It’s a matter of hours till the Ashes kick off Down Under, and we’re getting unfeasibly excited about the prospect of seeing Monty Panesar rip through the Aussie batting order before KP and Freddie batter a record number of sixes. Well, we can dream. But in the meantime, how can you get in the mood? Check out our pick of five ace cricket games, covering all platforms – console, mobile, online, board and TV plug-in.
1. EA Sports Cricket 07 (console)
Just in time for the Ashes comes EA’s latest leather’n'willow sim, promising the most intuitive control system yet (i.e. it’s not as bastard hard as its predecessors).
You choose whether to bat on the front or back foot using the left analog stick on your joypad, and set timing and direction using the right analog stick. You can play 20/20, one-day or full test matches, replay the 2005 Ashes, and take part in tournaments around the world. Hurrah! (more info)
Who needs a games console, though, when you can buy a proper bat and ball that plug into your TV for some proper cricket action? Made by Radica, this consists of a base console with motion sensors, which can track how you swing the bat peripheral, and translate this into the game.
The bat also has keys for blocking, running, and bonking Caprice. Okay, not that last one. Meanwhile, the ball also has sensors inside to judge how fast and straight (or otherwise) your bowl is, plus buttons to control spin and seam. The game itself includes one-day games, test matches and full tournaments, with three difficulty levels. (more info)
This mobile game isn’t your run of the mill cricket sim. There’s animals all over the pitch, and you can score 12 runs off a single ball. Sadly, neither of these has yet been incorporated into the real-life cricketing rulebook. The basic aim of the game is to travel the world for one-on-one cricket battles, batting for 24 balls against your opponent before bowling at them – with the highest scorer winning.
Pitches in England, South Africa, Australia and India all have their different features, and you can score bonus runs by hitting objects – including elephants in one case. Needless to say, the emphasis is on thumping sixes and fours rather than defensive play. The game should be on your mobile operator’s portal, or get it from the link. (more info)
I hope you didn’t have any work planned for today. Stick Cricket is back, back, back! And it’s been customised for the Ashes, thanks to a tie-in with The Sun. Just to recap, it’s an online Flash game where you have to bat, right-handed, using four buttons on your keyboard to play all manner of shots, from defensive prods and off drives through to mighty hooks.
You can even duck – I assume this means bend under a fast ball, rather than deliberately score no runs. The game itself has instantly recognisable graphics, and has been played literally millions of times in the last few years, which equates to a boss-shuddering amount of lost work hours. But at least they’re in a good cause. (more info)
People of a certain age (i.e. those who remember the days before videogames) may remember a spiffing football board game called Wembley. Well, the same company also made a cricket game, based on the Gillette Cup tournament (which nowadays rejoices in the moniker of The C&G Cup).
There isn’t a dice in sight with this board game though. Batting, bowling and scoring are all controlled by cards, with little plastic fielders carefully placed on the field to anticipate the batter’s decisions. You even get proper cricket score-sheets to keep track of things. A vintage copy of the game is available via the link, although it’ll set you back £69.99. (more info)