The Cricketer
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We get clicking as the latest match-management game arrives

The Cricket Captain series is the only cricket management game that is updated every year and with the sheer weight of statistics involved that is no mean feat. For those unaware of the franchise, it offers the armchair fan to take the reins of their favoured county/country/franchise from the comfort of the aforementioned armchair.

Having first played the original cricket captain back in 2000, skilfully guiding Warwickshire to consecutive County Championship titles with the help of Ostler, Lara, Penney and co, I will admit I haven’t seen a lot of the more recent versions. Like many I feel I have it in me to lead an Ashes-winning team, and while skippering Victoria College Prep under 11’s for a season is an impressive feat, my captaincy experience is limited.

This edition features more teams and domestic systems than ever before with 130 domestic teams over 8 countries, so you can test your mettle from the Caribbean to the subcontinent. I plumped to venture as far afield as Canterbury, to try and bring glory back to the garden of England. The set up for the game was incredibly quick, similar games in the football market take an age to set up, but I was straight into the season before you can say Sam Northeast.
Before I took on Gloucestershire in the first Div 2 game of the season I was offered the opportunity to pick up some free agents, hot youth prospects or bolster my squad with the addition of an overseas pro. Picking up a young opening bat averaging 56 from 36 matches was a shrewd move, picking up Andre Russell was not – unfortunately ‘Dre Russ’ is out of action for the next 35 weeks.

The game play is similar how I remember it, with a much-improved interface. The depth of stats on this game is fantastic; you can do your research on all players to the nth degree, and to be successful you may have to be. Make no mistake, this game isn’t going to widen cricket’s appeal. If you sat someone down who thought a leg-break would require some plaster of Paris, they wouldn’t know where to start. It is tailored towards the cricket fan, someone who can appreciate the statistical intricacies of the game, someone who will be overjoyed to watch their top 4 accumulate runs across the season, someone who will bring on their part-time slow left-armer when K.Pietersen arrives at the crease.
Being similar to the Football Manager series will inevitably draw comparisons, but the beauty of Cricket Captain 2017 is that it doesn’t over complicate things, it keeps the day-to-day running of the club simple. While there might be an argument that there could be more interaction with the board, with differing targets and incentives, the historical scenarios available in the game with give you the black-and-white challenge aspect.

All in all it is very well put together, and nothing is a bigger testament to the series that it has been going since 1998. I am sure it will continue to provide people with the captaincy platform that they crave – I only hope they give it a better shot than me.

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