A recent non-existent survey of this site’s 12 readers revealed general disquiet about the amount of coverage of old football games. Well, we heard you loud and clear, imaginary reader – obviously cricket is more your thing.

When we were a bit more organised, it used to be possible to plan reviews around real life events in an attempt to be vaguely topical. So, as the real life Ashes series rolled around in November, the thought of digging out some dreadful cricket game for coverage did occur to me. Maybe even an Ashes cricket game!

And so I did dust off my copy of Ashes Cricket 2009, last played in 2009 on one of those rare occasions that I set aside my bargain basement sensibilities for a reckless new sports game purchase, and ignored forever shortly afterwards. Here’s a picture of Ian Bell.

It doesn’t look too bad there, does it? 2009-era Bell-y, sporting some blonde highlights under the helmet and a patchy-ish record, recalled once again on the basis of being better than Ravi Bopara. An Adidas bat as well, that’s right. And also you can’t really see any on-pitch action or anyone doing any cricket type movements.

When I first bought it, Ashes Cricket 2009 set a new personal record for the shortest time between installing and playing a new game and giving it up as a bad job and a waste of time and money. And now it also holds the record for the shortest amount of time spent considering a game for coverage on FFG before abandoning the idea altogether. Based on those five minutes, my review is: don’t bother.

A few years ago, I invested a lot of time in a dreadful cricket game, EA’s Cricket 2005, out of a misguided sense of commitment and fairness, a process that coincided with a summer of unrelenting migraine attacks which I now suspect must have been related. That review of Cricket 2005 could easily, I suspect, be applied to a number of other old cricket games: many of them make the same mistakes, and are seemingly made by people who think cricket is boring anyway and are honour-bound to give fans the dull action they crave.

(As a side note, things do seem to be getting better in recent years, with Big Ant Studios giving us the creditable Don Bradman Cricket games and the official Ashes tie in from this series. Apparently it’s quite good!)

There is one old cricket game that might be of interest, but kind of got away: Ian Botham’s International Cricket 96. Essentially a PC version of Super International Cricket, it was released in other places as EA Cricket 96, with one of the main differences from the SNES original being some very cheap and embarrassing FMV clips and commentary punctuating the action.

The additional twist with the Botham version was more clips featuring Beefy, in which he pretended to be in the studio doing links to the two actors from the EA version, even pretending that one of them was a real ex-player and commentator, which always struck me as a bit weird.

Sadly, I got rid of my copy some time ago and for some reason it hasn’t had a digital re-release (or indeed been a priority for, er, non legitimate purveyors of oldies). Maybe we’ll come back to it one day, but for the time being, well, maybe we could look at an adventure game or something? Or, er, football, anyone?