The Telegraph's Scyld Berry writes about the shared history of baseball and cricket.
"Australia's cricketers owed their primacy as the world's Test and one-day champions partly to their American baseball coach, Michael Young, who taught their fielders to corner the batsman like a hunting pack; and this summer he was seconded to Somerset.
A generation ago, fielders did not dive; now they swoop, fling, leap and pirouette, before firing the ball over the stumps with a flat throw of no more than one bounce. Baseball has brought athleticism and choreography to cricket.
In return, baseball owes to England its existence. The first reference to baseball in the world occurs in the diary of a Surrey solicitor, William Bray, in 1755. Bray and his friends played "base-ball" together in Shere."
No need for a straight bat: Ian Botham at The Oval during a challenge match
Photo: Steve Poole / Daily Mail / Rex Features
Full article here.