The Reader: Were England’s fast bowlers too aggressive?

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I felt quite ashamed to be English while watching the second test against Australia at Lord’s and seeing our fast bowlers deliberately bowling head-high bouncers in a desperate attempt to dismiss Australia’s batsmen.

Must we wait for a fatality before this aggressive method is curtailed? Surely the aim is to break stumps not skulls?
Dennis Green

While it was sickening to see Australia’s best batsman, Steve Smith, felled by a bouncer from Jofra Archer, at least common sense prevailed in the end when it was decided that Smith be ruled out of the third test on medical grounds. from a spectator’s point of view, though, it’s a shame Smith couldn’t continue his epic battle with Archer, which was shaping up to be the key tussle of the series. And how Australia missed Smith yesterday at Headingley as Archer ripped through the tourists’ batting to take six wickets.
Mike Fry

Editor's reply

Dear Dennis and Mike

Short bowling is part of cricket, and as Jofra Archer showed at Lord’s last week, it is one of its most thrilling sights. It is also a legitimate tactic that can dismiss batsmen, or rattle them into giving their wicket away to a more innocuous delivery. the aim is not to “break skulls”, it is to take wickets. There are limits to what is and should be allowed, and umpires should step in more often to limit short bowling to tailenders. Cricket has had a tragedy already: Australian batsmen Phillip Hughes, who died almost five years ago. that changed attitudes and protective headgear. Archer hitting Steve Smith was a reminder of that incident, and while it was a shame for the series — and particularly Australia, as we saw yesterday — it is good that Smith sat out this game. Cricket is getting to grips with head injuries. I cannot put it better than former England captain Michael Atherton, who wrote this week: “A game without bouncers, without an element of fear or risk, is no game at all.”
Will Mcpherson, Cricket Correspondent

More action please on climate change

Your excellent leading article (“Britain is united: we must act now on climate crisis”, August 21) highlighted the widespread public concerns over climate change. It’s time for national and local politicians to respond with more ambitious plans to cut our greenhouse-gas emissions and to make us more resilient to those impacts of climate change that cannot now be avoided.

In June, Parliament amended the Climate Change Act to strengthen the UK’s legal target to reduce our annual emissions of greenhouse gases to net zero, instead of at least 80 per cent, by 2050.

That is, we must cut our emissions as much as possible with any residual amount balanced by removing equivalent volumes from the atmosphere, for instance by planting more trees.

But the Committee on Climate Change has warned that the UK is currently likely to miss its interim emissions targets for the late 2020s and early 2030s. Urgent action is needed by the Government to cut emissions from transport and heating in particular.

We also need action in London, and the candidates for next year’s mayoral election should offer a comprehensive strategy for tackling climate change issues in the capital.
Bob Ward, Policy and communications director, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics

Be a champion of democracy, Boris

I agree with David Reed [The Reader, August 21]. Although I’m a Tory voter who voted for Brexit and would do so again, I believe a second referendum should be offered to the country, and a general election. Brexit has raised legitimate issues in Scotland and Northern Ireland, which must be addressed. In doing so, Boris Johnson would be a true democrat and silence Mr Corbyn.
Dominic Shelmerdine

HS2 has to go all the way into town

What’s the point of building a high-speed railway into London and then stopping it at Old Oak Common [“Inquiry ordered into £56bn HS2 amid fears over spiralling costs”, August 21]? With the time and likely cost involved in getting into Central London from there, one might as well catch a standard train to Euston. Unless HS2 goes into a London terminus with good Underground links, it seems counterproductive.
R C B Oakley