Cricket: Caddick and Headley on rebound

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The Independent Online
ANDY CADDICK and Dean Headley were licking their wounds from public criticism in Port of Spain yesterday. Just how they react to it will have a significant bearing on England's Caribbean campaign.

Opposites temperamentally, the new-ball pair have nevertheless both been stung by the harsh words of the past two days, including those of England's captain, Michael Atherton, and coach, David Lloyd.

Atherton virtually accused them of costing England the second Test against the West Indies and Lloyd has also criticised their failure to put the ball consistently in the right place.

Lloyd said: "I told them on the last morning of the Test that they had to be themselves. I said `if you perform as you can then we will win.' But they are now getting three days in which to prepare themselves for the next Test and, if you get criticism, then any professional just has to roll up his sleeves and say he will show people what he can do. That's their challenge now."

Caddick is upset at being portrayed as the man who lost England the Test. He has been reluctant to talk about his poor performance, going 30 overs without a wicket on a pitch clearly made for his style of bowling.

He is also hurt that his 5 for 42 at The Oval in his previous Test last August to help defeat Australia - and that his record during the past year for England has been excellent - has been ignored. In other words, he simply had a bad Test.

In contrast, Headley has been happy to speak about his own second Test performance.

He said: "I did not bowl as well as I can but I did get four wickets in the match and, in the four Tests that I've now played since last summer, I've got 20 wickets. The main problem in the game was that, even though I looked like taking wickets, I was going for too many runs.

"I accept that I did not get things quite right but in my last spell I got the nip back in to my bowling and in that spell I picked up the wickets of David Williams and Curtly Ambrose.

"I felt I was getting my rhythm back and really hitting the bat. Overall, it was very disappointing of course, but I don't think I should be getting too worried about my form."

Lloyd, meanwhile, has been boosted by several calls of support from the England hierarchy back home and hinted strongly that England will go into the third Test with an unchanged team.

Lloyd has been particularly impressed by the resilience of his senior quartet of players - Alec Stewart, Nasser Hussain, Angus Fraser, and Jack Russell - who have had to suffer three failures in three tours to win a Trinidad Test.

"Those four are absolute bankers to come back strongly," Lloyd said. "I have also appreciated calls from the likes of chairman of selectors, David Graveney, and from our board chairman, Lord MacLaurin. I believe that David has also spoken to every single player.

"What irks is that we got into a position to win, but lost the game and it was very apparent why we lost it. You have simply got to put the ball in the right place on pitches like that."