PA Marlar tries new pitch on equality

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Marlar, a former first-class cricketer, had said that he considered girls playing cricket in the Brighton College First XI to be "absolutely outrageous".

Yesterday, however, Marlar sought to clarify his comments. He stood by his remarks that girls should not play alongside boys, but said that he was fully supportive of all levels of women's cricket.

"I am committed to encouraging as many boys and girls as possible to start playing cricket," he said. "But, as I made equally clear, my firm belief is that boys and girls should not face each other in high-level competitive games; our sport should adopt exactly the same approach as football, rugby and many others."

Marlar, 74, was at pains to ensure that no one was presented with a misleading impression of his and the MCC's intentions.

"This has long been my strong view. It is upsetting that a few words of mine have spoken more loudly than MCC's many actions. I am proud that the club is doing more than ever before to promote cricket to as many children as possible."