Sports Letters

Post letters to Sports Desk at 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL and include a daytime telephone number. Faxes to 0171 293 2894 or e-mail to E-mail correspondents are asked to give a postal address. Letters may be edited for length and clarity

Bring Test team home now

Sir: Another humiliating, embarrassing, degrading and mortifying Test match defeat by England. As predicted, England have lost a sixth consecutive Ashes series.

To avoid further annihilation, Alec Stewart and his men should pack their bags and return home immediately. With the series safely in Australia's hands again, there is no point taking part any further. It will be a waste of time and money, especially for the paying spectator to watch one-sided matches over and over again. The Australians yet again have shown how superior their players are in ability and technique.

The England and Wales Cricket Board should start introducing the basics of the game to schools and start them young. The current players lack the basic ability to compete at Test level.

Also, disposing of the present management structure is absolutely necessary. The records show very clearly England have suffered an array of Test defeats over a decade and nothing has been done to improve the situation. All we have had are excuses as to why the performances are so poor. I wonder what excuse David Lloyd will have up his sleeve after this latest defeat?

A new positive-thinking management system is needed to implement the right attitudes. Until the basics are sorted out ,England will continue to suffer defeats. It is a very unfortunate situation for an England supporter.

Hareen Marcelline

Dyce, Aberdeen

Captaincy flaws are the problem

Sir: The Australian cricket team has the benefit of a very fine captain. Mark Taylor is an excellent leader and has created a highly disciplined and motivated squad of cricketers with a wonderful team spirit.

In contrast, in recent years the England team has been very badly led. Under Michael Atherton, they were a scruffy, unshaven, indisciplined rabble led by a sadly inept captain, as his record shows.

It begins to look as if very little has changed, and that Alec Stewart's appointment has something to do with it being "Buggins' turn". Sloppy batting and fielding has much to do with slack captaincy and Tim Lamb and the rest of the England and Wales Cricket Board should bear this in mind if they really intend to bring about any serious improvement in English cricket.

There may be something to be said for the creation of two divisions, but the key to it all is good and effective captaincy both on and off the field. If this aspect is neglected, there is very little hope for the future of the game in this country.

E H Smith

Cheadle, Cheshire

The height of hypocrisy

Sir: I note with interest the recent comments attributed to Steve Stone regarding his future at Nottingham Forest Football Club.

Stone, with perfect timing, has decided to reveal he will quit the club if they are relegated this season. Hardly a morale booster for Forest's players and fans. Can this be the same Steve Stone who has been one of Pierre van Hoojdonk's most vociferous critics up to this point?

Although their methods differ, their agenda is the same: Self before team. Far from changing in separate dressing-rooms, the two players should share the same peg.

Niall Lovejoy

Shenley Brook End, Bucks

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