Sports Letters: Australian lessons

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The Independent Online
Sir: I have had in mind to write to you before, but in the hope that there would be some change in our cricketing fortunes, I have desisted. As we now see there seems little hope that the TCCB will ever again be able to pick a side that would even give the Australians a game.

There is a reason for our demise. Ten years ago I visited the family in Sydney, and was whisked way to an oval before 8am to watch my eight-year-old grandson play for his local team. On that ground there were at least five batting sides hard at it, all under supervision of a coach, in his case a formidable cricketing lady. They played only until 12am because of the heat, and if necessary came back the following week to finish the game. They had transport for away matches, organised by parents, who were encouraged to support little Shane or Mervyn in the hope that one day he would play for his country. Every child played the national game, be he Italian, Bulgarian, English or German born. As far as cricket is concerned they are all Aussies.

This system of coaching applied to age groups through their young lives, and the competitive spirit was beyond belief. They all care passionately about this game they play so well. The difference is clear, and until this country gets back to encouraging all youngsters to play the game, we shall remain at the bottom of the cricketing league. Send someone out to see how the Oz do it, TCCB. Remember: 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.'

BOB CARTER

Ravenshead, Notts.

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