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New cricket format means you don’t have to be stumped by pace of life

PUBLISHED: 09:15 21 March 2013

Devon Malcolm bowls with Lou Vincent looking on

Devon Malcolm bowls with Lou Vincent looking on

2010 Getty Images

If you enjoy a game of cricket, but just haven’t got time to play it, don’t worry – sweeping change is just around the corner.

Last Man Stands – a modified version of Twenty20 cricket for teams of eight-a-side – is on its way to north London, with a new league due to be launched at the end of next month.

The LMS format is primarily designed for amateur players whose work or family commitments prevent them from giving up a full Saturday or Sunday, although many current and former professionals have also taken part.

Those include former England stars Graeme Hick, Devon Malcolm and Alex Tudor, as well as ex-New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent and South African Neil McKenzie.

Ross Cawood, who was one of the initiators of LMS back in 2005, is confident that the league – to be staged at Regent’s Park and Paddington Rec – will be a big hit with local cricket enthusiasts.

He said: “We’ve already got 300 teams in London and we’re looking to spread into other boroughs. More teams have expressed an interest in playing, but until now we didn’t have grounds available.

“There are a lot of guys who love cricket but may not have all day to play it for various reasons. The idea is that if they can fit in a two-hour game during the week that’s a good balance.

“We saw a gap in the market, got our mates involved and LMS just spiralled. It’s popular with ex-pats – a lot of Kiwis who are playing LMS in New Zealand at the moment play here during the summer.

“But we want to make it accessible to everyone. We try and organise the games when it suits everyone – we’re planning for a midweek league but that could change to a weekend if players preferred it.

“Because there are only eight players in a team, the great thing is that everyone gets a go. We provide the shirts and all teams need to do is turn up with the rest of their cricket gear, it’s as simple as that.”

Like Twenty20, LMS operates with matches of 20 overs a side, although there are several variations to the standard rules of the game, including one that – as the name suggests – allows the last batsman to continue solo.

Other changes include the double play rule, under which two wickets can be taken off one ball, and a last-ball six which counts as 12 runs. Batsmen must retire after making a half-century but can return later in the innings.

LMS also has a global ranking system that records all teams and individual profiles, enabling players to compare performances with their counterparts in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Dubai.

Teams that enter the league will be eligible for the Last Man Stands World Championships, which will take place at Lord’s in August.

Players without a team can also get involved by registering online with the league organisers.

Email ross@lastmanstands.com, visit www.lastmanstands.com or call 0771 745 3272 for further information.

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