Strauss: team need time to let dust settle


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The Independent Online

Those who are calling for immediate change in England's Test team may be disappointed. It is, of course, the convention to call for multiple sackings, a few axeings and a beheading or two when teams are defeated as comprehensively as England have been in the past month.

In losing the third Test to Pakistan, they ensured their first whitewash since the team led by Andrew Flintoff lost 5-0 to Australia five years ago. That led to the resignation as coach of Duncan Fletcher and Flintoff never led England again.

The scope of the bloodletting this time will be extremely limited. In considering the prospect of change, Andrew Strauss, the England captain, dampened the mob's ardour yesterday.

"Who knows, it would be wrong for me to speculate on that," he said. "We have some really good talent in English cricket. That's a good thing but I still believe that by and large the best players in England are out here in Dubai and the challenge is for them to improve."

Strauss'was right . Nobody was calling for wholesale changes before the series in the UAE because four of the top six in England's order were considered the bee's knees. Another was the captain himself and the other, Eoin Morgan, was a promising work in progress.

The bookies got to work almost as quickly as the mob because that is their job. Morgan (left), who made his top score in the series yesterday of 31, and Ian Bell, who made a total of 49 runs, are odds-on favourites to be dropped for the series in Sri Lanka next month.

But replacements will not be easily found, partly because they are not ready, partly because no one except the Test team has played first-class cricket since September.

"No one has got a right to play for England for ever," said Strauss. "That's patently wrong but I think it's important that we take a bit of time to let the dust settle, start thinking about what went wrong individually and what components the team needs to function properly and win out here."