Cricket: Alleyne returns after death of his father

MARK ALLEYNE, the England all-rounder, left the tour of Australia yesterday after the death of his father in a car accident. He immediately flew home with his wife, Louise, and will now travel to Barbados where the accident happened.

England will not replace Alleyne, who has impressed intermittently on his first senior tour without quite giving the impression that he was wholly comfortable on the international stage. In a sad way his departure may increase the determination of his colleagues as they prepare for the finals of the Carlton & United one- day series.

"The playing of cricket is meaningless when set against personal tragedy," said the tour manager, David Graveney. "But once the shock has been absorbed by the players it will prove to be a real focal point for the team. It will work as an inspiration to the team to do it for Mark."

Alleyne's father, Euclid, 56, had returned to Barbados to live in recent years. He was a keen club cricketer who was immensely proud of his son's achievements after first demonstrating his talent for the game at Haringey Cricket College in London.

Graveney said that England expect to be able to pick from a full squad of 15 for the first final in Sydney on Wednesday. The team physiotherapist, Dean Conway, is making optimistic noises about the respective hamstring injuries of Neil Fairbrother and Darren Gough, though no final decision will be made until tomorrow.

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