International Cricket Captain 2006 is the sort of game that, as a reviewer, you look forward to demolishing with gleeful relish - like a be-capped 1950s schoolboy greedily eyeing up a rival's dangling conker. It's a budget management game, developed by a handful of unknowns. About cricket, that most treacle-paced of sporting pursuits. With creakingly animated sprites (sprites!) instead of beautiful 3D graphics. Did we mention it's endorsed by South African Englishman Kevin Pietersen MBE, a chap so self-obsessed he allegedly insists that girlfriends shout out his name during intercourse? Good golly gosh, we were so ready to royally rip this game a new one.
But we can't, because it's actually not that awful.
As you'll no doubt have guessed from its title, the game puts you in the pads and, erm, box of a cricket captain. At the beginning of the single-player campaign you get the choice between taking over a county side and earning the right to lead your country (the full "career" mode), taking over England or another nation straight from the off, or taking charge of both a country and a county at the same time. There's one additional mode, where you relive well-loved international test series of yesteryear - although, rather bizarrely, you're limited to those involving either Pakistan or Sri Lanka, so last year's blistering Ashes series is off the menu.