The time warp of the cricketing establishment was clearly exposed in Barney Ronay’s article (Pop-eared county chairmen show why English cricket is in trouble, 25 January), but the origins of these attitudes are much deeper. Excellence in cricket requires more investment than most other sports; an essential element is a well-prepared pitch and a level outfield, especially to provide basic safety when handling a hard cricket ball at high speed.
It also requires a training program to develop the complex skills necessary for young players to thrive. Alas, nowadays few state secondary schools have the financial capacity to spend the required expenses and very little formal cricket is played in state schools. This means that many interested youngsters, potential future expert cricketers, have no chance of learning the basic skills, and few enter county team academies.
A quick glance at the list of players currently on the Yorkshire books shows that of the 27 educated in the UK, almost all have come through state or directly funded schools. Undoubtedly, there would be the same proportion of skilled players passing through public schools in the county game, but they are absent through no fault of their own.
The ripple effect is that the elitist culture of state schools, which has produced the archaic attitudes of so many cabinet members and many Tory MPs, is also entrenched in the cricketing establishment, as has been so clearly exposed. Ronay. To change that, there needs to be a deliberate investment in gaming in public schools to expand the pool of players.