Leading Article: It's just not cricket

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The Independent Online
WE live in an age when stereotypes are crumbling daily, especially in sport. Nowadays the Italians play rugby - and creditably. Irishwomen who traditionally were not encouraged to be sporty now win athletics world championships. English football clubs are black and foreign in impressive proportions.

We mustn't go too far in suggesting old patterns no longer hold. Nick Hornby may have convinced some that football is for sensitive types, but recent antics on Tyneside have cemented football's reputation as a pitch for boorish men. Perhaps there are real limits to how far traditional allegiances should be subverted.

There is something, well, outlandish about certain countries playing certain games. Take cricket. To know that there is a Bangladeshi side which is doing some international touring this summer is not surprising. But who are the Bangladeshi tourists playing in July? Scotland. The idea of Scots playing cricket invites one of those Doctor Johnsonisms about women, preachers and dogs. There is no reason why the Scots should be able to handle this particular ball except... it's English.

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