It is unlikely that any of England's current cricketers will end up as umpires.
They get paid too much. However, there is evidence that one or two of them might be rather good in a white coat.
There were two lbws that helped England on their way in New Zealand's paltry first innings, which were not spotted by the professionals from the ICC's elite panel, but leapt upon by eagle-eyed English cricketers out in the middle. One of them, a pad/bat lbw, which is terribly hard to adjudicate upon with the naked eye, fell to Stuart Broad.
Broad has never been the best exploiter of the Decision Review System. He has sometimes struggled to find much objectivity, whether batting or bowling. Perhaps he is now coming to terms with the system. In this instance a disgruntled Tim Southee had to go.
Unlike Broad, Graeme Swann has always been a canny beneficiary and exploiter of DRS. Sometimes when bowling he has remained silent even though his wicketkeeper and first slip have been screaming at the umpire for an lbw. Swann knows when it is out and by and large he does not bother to appeal with any venom unless that is the case. Soon he wins over the confidence of the umpire; a bond is formed; they understand and respect one another and a prosperous relationship can ensue.
So when Swann opted to review an lbw appeal against Kane Williamson, the batsman should have started to feel uneasy. Swann knows when he has bowled a straight ball. Williamson took himself into a strange position as if the delivery was going down the leg-side. It transpired that it was not going in that direction and soon Williamson, the most adhesive of the New Zealand batsmen, had to accept the inevitable.
For Swann this was a happy return to Headingley. Last year he was left out of the team against South Africa, the strangest of selections and one which will have hurt a suddenly dispensable Swann. We remember that Test as the Kevin Pietersen match for the brilliant 149 and that press conference. It is easier to forget that Pietersen, the off-spinner, picked up four for 78 in the game. This would have cheered Swann for two reasons: every member of the team is supposed to revel in their colleagues' success; even more importantly, it confirmed the selectors had made the wrong decision when leaving him out.
On Sunday Swann revelled in the Headingley sunshine. Of course, he took a wicket in his first over. Before he had finished his seventh he had four to his name – and they were all right-handers. Swann is not supposed to feed upon them quite so greedily.
But, leaving aside a certain Kiwi callowness, there was special encouragement for Swann. Outside the off-stump on his preferred length there were footmarks created by New Zealand's left-arm pacemen. Swann expertly propelled the ball in that direction. Some turned, some did not. That was enough. Trent Boult and Neil Wagner had bowled with great spirit and much skill throughout England's innings. Now it seemed as if their feet were causing the Kiwi batsmen too much strife, an argument that the two bowlers concerned would struggle to accept after more than 100 overs in the field.
For Swann there were two dream dismissals through the gate of groping right-handers, then the snatched lbw of Williamson thanks to his shrewd umpiring skills, followed by a bat/pad catch to get rid of Doug Bracewell.
This was a timely reassurance for England since Swann is reckoned to be so vital to their Ashes campaign. He did not take a wicket in the Lord's Test, albeit in just eight overs. Moreover his understudy, James Tredwell, has not taken a single championship wicket for Kent all season.
Australia have two left-arm pace bowlers in their Ashes squad: Mitchell Starc, who might well play, and James Faulkner, who probably will not. However, they have only two right-handers among their batsmen, the captain, Michael Clarke, and Shane Watson. So Swann can happily revert to bowling at left-handers and he would be more than happy to do so on a pitch such as this.
Here Swann will be hungry for the ball whenever Alastair Cook deigns to have another bowl at the New Zealanders. The England captain was minded to grind the Kiwis into the dirt at the expense of wasting some time.
Meanwhile, poor Brendon McCullum was denied his best bowler, Boult, who was injured. Well, perhaps he would not have bowled him anyway. Boult would only dig holes outside the off-stump of his fragile right-handed batsmen.
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image: © JJ Hall