Cricket: Dexter dismisses criticism of squad

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The Independent Online
TED DEXTER, the chairman of England's cricket selectors, said yesterday that a different squad would not necessarily have fared any better in India than the one beaten 3-0 in the series that has just finished and looked forward to copying India's home-soil superiority this summer.

'In this series we have been beaten not by a little but by a country mile,' Dexter, speaking from his home, said yesterday. 'That suggests we could have permed another 15 or 18 players and it wouldn't have made any difference. Everyone has tried their best but the results in the Tests have been very disappointing. Man for man, in their conditions, India were better than us.

'What we must remember is that a few weeks ago India came back from South Africa a beaten side and with all their supporters calling for changes. They got back to winning ways in their own country and we must do the same against Australia this summer.'

Dexter, whose position is certain to be discussed by the Test and County Cricket Board at their meeting on 9 and 10 March, is keen to see out the remaining year of his contract, and he said Graham Gooch should continue as captain for the Ashes series. 'It would be odd if, in the face of three bad results, the Board wanted to turn everything on its head,' he added.

The former England opener Geoff Boycott has accused the team of showing a lack of commitment and questioned team selection in India. In a one-hour review of the tour to be screened on on Sky Sports tonight, he says: 'The major disappointment of the Tests has been England's inability to get the selection of the team right and to bat better - to show a better appreciation of how to play spin and to show more commitment.

'They got the selection wrong at Calcutta. We played four seamers when it was crying out for spin. They haven't fought hard enough and they haven't applied themselves well enough, certainly in the first two Tests. They should have saved that match in Calcutta. We should have had more fire in our belly, more passion.'

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