Cricket: Atherton called to combat swing swing

JUST TWO days after their momentous Test series win, England must turn their thoughts to playing two of the best one-day sides in world cricket, writes Derek Pringle. If beating South Africa at Test level has provided a much needed fillip for the game in England, defeating both them and Sri Lanka at the one-day game will also be seen as a significant step. With the World Cup just nine months away, England must start hitting their stride now if they are to be realistic contenders.

The 14-man squad chosen for the Emirates-sponsored triangular series, which begins on Friday, has four changes from the one which represented England in the one-day internationals during May. Apart from the appointment of Alec Stewart as captain in place of Adam Holl-ioake, who still makes the squad, those included this time are Michael Atherton, Graeme Hick, Peter Martin and Alan Mullally.

Atherton's inclusion, in place of Darren Maddy, is proof that the selectors are prepared to be flexible. Ignored totally under Hollioake, the selection panel are apparently concerned about the extra swing and seam movement the white ball tends to generate.

With Atherton now back to his best, they believe he offers an alter-native to the big punching left-right opening combination of Nick Knight and Alistair Brown.

"We feel the white ball could be the key," said the chairman of sele- ctors, David Graveney. "We have noticed that AXA League scores [where the white ball is used in every match] have been relatively low.

"Brown and Knight did well against South Africa in the Texaco and they might well be our starting pairing. But if the ball does move around we might want the option of Atherton's experience. In any case his one-day record in England is enviable."

While Atherton is there to repel any exaggerated movement, Martin and Mullally, along with Angus Fraser, are expected to exploit it and Dean Headley is on standby in case his sore back fails to ease in time.

The return of the one-dimensional cricketer is interesting since it was just under a year ago that an England team brimming with all-rounders won a one-day tournament in Sharjah. For now, though, the specialists appear to be back, replacing the likes of Ben Hollioake (average season), Chris Lewis (bad attitude and bad mouth), Andrew Flintoff (better off playing for Lancashire) and Matthew Fleming (done a Lord Lucan).

If some of the exclusions appear harsh, the selectors have been benevolent in throwing Hick one more lifeline. "A player who has got a hundred 100s doesn't become a bad player overnight," reasoned Grav-eney. "He'll be disappointed with his three low scores in the Tests, though he did arrive with Allan Donald bearing down on him each time. But he knows it's up to him to show his ability once more at this level."

If Hick's options are clear-cut, Hollioake Snr's have become increasingly opaque. Lauded as England's saviour last December when he led them to victory in the Sharjah Cup, Hollioake's stock has fallen to the extent that he must now fight for his place.

ENGLAND SQUAD (for next week's Emirates Triangular Tournament against South Africa and Sri Lanka): A J Stewart (Surrey, capt, wkt) Age 35 One- day caps 102, M A Atherton (Lancashire) 30 53, A D Brown (Surrey) 28 9, R D B Croft (Glamorgan) 28 26, M A Ealham (Kent) 28 17, A R C Fraser (Middlesex) 33 37, A F Giles (Warwickshire) 25 2, D Gough (Yorkshire) 27 41, G A Hick (Worcestershire) 32 71, A J Hollioake (Surrey) 26 17, N Hussain (Essex) 30 15, N V Knight (Warwickshire) 28 24, P J Martin (Lancashire) 29 16, A D Mullally (Leicestershire) 29 8.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

IT Technician (1st/2nd line support) - Leatherhead, Surrey

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Technician (1st/2nd line support)...

Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Job Title: Business Analyst Rate: £300 - £350 per...

C# .NET Developer

£290 - £291 per day + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Manchester C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform