WITH the game of cricket in decline, never has it been so important that we have had an Ashes series that demonstrated the skills and values of the game.

So what a disappointment from England failing to provide a contest. I’ve see more resistance from an ice lolly in the microwave.

But the worst feature has been the behaviour of both teams which the umpires have failed to control and represent the spirit of cricket.

How is it that an international umpire on £1,000 per game is ineffective in this aspect when a Durham Cricket League umpire on 30p a mile is expected to control the game?

England are in tatters – send Sam Allardyce as manager and make Paul Collingwood captain.

Then we will have a contest.

Congratulations to the English women’s cricketers on their team of the year award at BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday – they show that cricket can be an enjoyable game.

Finally, I’ve just heard that the Australian coach to the England team has won an award for services to Australian cricket!

H B McLaren, Durham