Sports Letters: In pursuit of England's glory

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The Independent Online
Sir: I refer to Martin Johnson's article 'England draw comfort from Hick's high-class hundred' and Glenn Moore's article 'Atherton sees positive signs in extra grit' (both 9 August).

I was one of the few that attended Headingley on the final day of the Test match against South Africa in the hope of witnessing a rare England victory. I am one of those people that Martin Johnson feels sorry for, not because I was there but because I believed, mistakenly, that England can be a force again in world cricket.

However, I now feel that this is a bridge too far if cricket correspondents and the England captain are comforted by Hick's performance (I use Hick's performance as an example and not as a scapegoat). How can a slow scoring rate by Hick on Sunday have been 'exactly what we wanted in the circumstances'?

This match could have been won by a more positive approach from Hick on Sunday evening, giving England more time to bowl the opposition out. South Africa, along with most other major cricket-playing nations, are not a team to be bowled out in two sessions - England are. We, the paying public, expect more both from the players and the press. This was a spineless performance by England - and the Independent cricket correspondents.

Yours faithfully,

NIGEL UTTLEY

Goostry, Cheshire

9 August

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