After Headlingley, English cricket still faces its greatest test | Letters


There is one candidate for the greatest Test that Matthew Engel (28 August) fails to mention. Ahead of the momentous Ashes series of 1926, the Surrey and England star batsman Jack Hobbs gave his name to a prophetic novel, The Test Match Surprise. As last week at Headingley, Australia bat first and lead by more than 100, then set England a record 350-plus to win; this is achievedafter much tension, thanks to Teddy Herrington (ie Hobbs) playing the Ben Stokes role with a spectacular not-out century. The names of other real-life players are thinly disguised: Sutcliffe and Holmes become Ratcliffe and Sherlock, and the 1926 captain, Arthur Carr of Nottinghamshire, becomes, gratifyingly, the undersigned.
Charles Barr
• Judged purely on Test match averages, it is arguable that England’s greatest all-rounder (Sport, 27 August ) is a player Moeen Ali doesn’t mention: Tony Greig. He batted at 40.43 and bowled at 32.20, compared with Stokes (35.86; 32.22), Botham (33.54; 28.40) and Flintoff (31.77; 32.78). Of course, Stokes has plenty of cricket left in him.
Dr Howard Mason
• Further to the comments from your reader Keith Flett (Letters, 27 August), and Jeremy Corbyn’s despairing tweet bemoaning the lack of live cricket on free-to-air television, it is interesting to note that twice as many people watched the first episode of the new Peaky Blinders series as watched the riveting third Test from Headingley, which, laughably, was themed The Participation Test by the ECB.
Cricket participation has dropped by a third over the past decade, and will continue to do so as the ECB has no plans for future Tests, or any proper cricket for that matter, to be shown live on free-to-air television.