Leading article: Not cricket

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There is a lot about modern cricket - and, one suspects, the modern world - that Mr Marlar finds hard to stomach. Enthusiasm is one of them. "I watched one match last summer," he moaned in an interview with a former England captain, "and there was clapping and shouting after every ball. It was quite appalling."

Mr Marlar also has a problem with girls: "Did you know that Brighton College are playing girls in their first XI? Girls! I think it's absolutely outrageous."

According to the new MCC head honcho: "If there's an 18-year-old fast bowler who can bowl at 80mph and he's been brought up properly then he shouldn't want to hurt a lady at any cost." Such ridiculous sexism would be almost amusing were the MCC not charged with being the guardian of the laws of the game.

Yet we suspect something other than sexism lies behind Mr Marlar's views. England's women's cricket team, like their male counterparts, won the Ashes this summer. But Mr Marlar, an off-spinning amateur for Sussex in the 1950s, never did. Could he perhaps be a little jealous?

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