Sports Letters: Kids are all right

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The Independent Online
Sir: After the disappointment of England's performance in the cricket World Cup and Pakistan's relative success, the England selectors had the great idea that they would try to attract young English cricketers from an Asian background. It seemed to me a good first step to select Aftab Habib for the team if this signalled a strategy to support and develop young players within the England Test scene. Yet in my heart of hearts I knew that the selectors were just as conservative and resigned to fate as any of their predecessors over last decade.

I predicted then that if, after two Tests, Habib failed to make much of a score then he would be dropped and Hick and/or Atherton would be selected. And why not? After all, they know the score. They've been a part of the thrilling England Test scene over the last 10 years. They're both over 30 and they've got "class".

English cricket at all levels is an incestuous affair where places in the first XI are guaranteed until pension books are drawn - a cosy, self-perpetuating, self- promoting, senior players' clique.

What saddens me more is that too many members of the English cricket media seem to be fully paid-up members of this pitiable "if your face fits" club.

CHARLES SHARPE

Totnes, Devon (by e-mail)

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