SPORTS LETTERS: Play interrupted

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Play interrupted

From Mr Timothy Bleach

Sir: The television commentary on the Friday of the Lord's Test match was substantially interrupted during the morning session by a variety of newscasters, interviewers and pundits speculating on the implications of Mr Hurd's impending retirement as Foreign Secretary.

Had the matter been one of genuine national emergency, the intrusion would have been both understandable and wholly necessary. As things stand, there is already a plethora of news and current affairs programmes.

Cricket, once a national institution like Mr Hurd, is the one sport in the country still enjoyed by a wide variety of ages, classes, and ethnic groups. The fact that the interruption came at a most exciting moment when our bowlers were engaged in confrontation against Carl Hooper and Brian Lara made the situation even more galling.

I suppose that the BBC's reasoning is that cricket, like most other vital public services, is now to be regarded as a privatised concern which no longer carries any weight either of national tradition or aesthetic value.

A final point: it is noteworthy to contrast the Antipodean courtesy with which Richie Benaud passes us across to the newsroom for its various bulletins, when he invariably names the newscasters, with the total lack of response from the smiling young persons who bring us news of the latest controversies.

Yours sincerely,

TIMOTHY BLEACH

London N19

23 June

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