On boos at Lord’s, bore draws and a sin-bin for elite foot­ball

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Stumped by lost Test play

I lost in­ter­est in Test cricket af­ter the Lord’s Cen­te­nary Test of 1980 be­tween Eng­land and Aus­tralia, when the play­ers and um­pires failed to ap­pre­ci­ate it was sup­posed to be a cel­e­bra­tion of the game and did their ut­most to pre­vent play due to per­ceived un­suit­able con­di­tions.

Dur­ing the match Ian Botham, the Eng­land cap­tain, was booed by MCC mem­bers when he re­turned to the pavil­ion.

In 40 years noth­ing has changed for the good and, in­deed, this sum­mer’s play has been stopped by the um­pires even when both sides were happy to carry on play­ing.

It is shame­ful and the pay­ing pub­lic de­serve bet­ter.

Dr Martin Henry, Good Easter, Es­sex

Give teams an ex­tra in­cen­tive

Cricket should adopt a win­ning/ los­ing draw method so that even the most rain-af­fected match would still have some­thing to play for, rather than the mean­ing­less fin­ish to the last Test that was no more than a net ses­sion.

Un­der the sys­tem, drawn matches would be de­cided by tak­ing the over­all runs scored and di­vid­ing by the num­ber of balls faced and di­vided fur­ther by the num­ber of wick­ets lost. Teams in drawn matches would then have an in­cen­tive to score runs or take wick­ets, mak­ing it more in­ter­est­ing for spec­ta­tors and TV view­ers.

Eric Gib­bons, Dun­fermline

Vi­sion­ary Wil­lis on the ball

The late lamented Bob Wil­lis would, I am sure, have been chuffed to have a county cricket tro­phy named af­ter him. How­ever, he would prob­a­bly have been bet­ter pleased if his vi­sion of a prop­erly for­mu­lated county cricket league of three, four or five di­vi­sions, in­volv­ing all the crick­et­ing coun­ties, had been im­ple­mented when he sug­gested such a thing 30 or more years ago.

I hope if the cur­rent for­mat is adopted in the post-Covid-19 fu­ture it keeps the name of this free­think­ing cricket great.

Colin Sen­neck, Hart­ley, Kent

Rugby league plays its cards right

Hav­ing watched a few foot­ball matches on TV re­cently, I con­tin­u­ally get frus­trated by play­ers com­mit­ting cyn­i­cal fouls and be­ing pre­pared, as a re­sult, “to take one for the team” as the com­men­ta­tors point out when the yel­low card is bran­dished af­ter­wards.

I was in­ter­ested to read, in the ar­ti­cle about the ref­eree at grass-roots level who got at­tacked, that it was as a re­sult of is­su­ing a yel­low card which meant 10 min­utes in the sin-bin.

Leav­ing aside the wider is­sues of that as­sault, I think it is time that the sin-bin was in­tro­duced at pro­fes­sional level.

It would not stop, but it might con­trol cyn­i­cal fouls, shirt pulling, dis­sent etc, all of which serve to break up the game.

By con­trast, rugby league has had the sin-bin for years and as a re­sult, is a cleaner and faster sport.

Bernard White, Ripon

Off colour: A sin-bin in foot­ball might con­trol cyn­i­cal fouls, shirt-pulling and dis­sent

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