Cricket: England need `an injection'

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The Independent Online
David Graveney, England's chairman of selectors, last night admitted that changes will have to be made in one last attempt to turn around the Ashes series.

Turning to fresh talent seems the only way forward for Mike Atherton, who is determined to see out the rest of the summer as captain - but whose hold on the job might not stretch beyond next month.

Defeat by an innings and 61 runs yesterday in the fourth Test at Headingley means that Australia are 2-1 up in the six-match series, and Graveney hinted heavily that Surrey's ultra-competitive Hollioake brothers, Adam and Ben, who impressed during May's Texaco Trophy victories, are in line for promotion to the Test side.

"We must not be panicked into wholesale changes, but at the same time we have to give ourselves the best possible chance," Graveney said. "We need an injection."

The selectors sit down on Saturday to pick the squad for next week's fifth Test at Trent Bridge. "There is no point in people pointing fingers at each other. We all have to be strong together," Graveney said.

"People are hurting in our dressing-room - the players are hurting, the captain is and so am I. All I can do is be supportive of players individually, and in this position I do feel you have to stand back for a couple of days," Graveney added.

"What hurts Mike Atherton more than anything is that chances have been created in the last two Tests - but they have not been taken. When you play Australia, you know that the door is only open for you occasionally. But Athers is very strong - that's why he's captain - and I've said often enough that I have the highest regard for him both as a cricketer and as a man."

Atherton said: "I've not even thought about my position. The selectors appointed me for the whole series and, although it's a tough call, we have to believe we can win both the remaining Tests. We simply have to play better. We won't beat Australia playing poorly."