Cricket: Dial M for Millns, Mullally

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The Independent Online
IF Ray Illingworth was a firm believer in the adage 'Never change a winning team', then yesterday evening's selection meeting could probably have been conducted by mobile phone. Instead, given New Zealand's poor showing, the England selectors will probably see fit to tinker a little with their winning side.

Such luxuries don't come round often, but this season they are likely to appear a great deal more regularly than Devon Malcolm getting two consecutive balls in the right place. With so many other bowlers injured (Mark Ilott, Andrew Caddick, Martin Bicknell and Martin McCague), England may well call two new pace bowlers into the squad for next week's Test at Lord's.

If Alan Mullally were to be selected, he would, apart from offering the left-arm option that Ilott fulfilled at Trent Bridge (though he wasn't used), open up the whole issue of dual nationality. Actually, Mullally was born in Southend and is a good bowler who extracts bounce from most pitches with his smooth, high action. Unlike Ilott, he rarely swings the ball back into the right-handers and his tally this year is not as impressive as his possible selection may suggest, although Brian Lara has accorded him the accolade of giving him a bit of trouble. Judging by Lara's current form, this should see Mullally installed immediately.

David Millns, on the other hand, comes from Clipstone, in Nottinghamshire, and like many of England's great fast bowlers, he has wielded a pickaxe at the coal-face. So far this year, he has taken 27 wickets and has overcome the troublesome Achilles- tendon injury that has limited his appearances since the A- team tour to Australia two years ago. On a good day he can swing it at pace, which would offer even the best a testing time.

What New Zealand's flat- footed batsmen would make of it is hard to say, but if Lord's is close to being its usual benign self, either bowler will have enough overs to get a good look.

ENGLAND (possible): M Atherton, A Stewart, G Gooch, R Smith, G Hick, C White, S Rhodes, A Fraser, P DeFreitas, P Such, R Stemp, D Millns, D Malcolm.

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