CRICKET : England selectors face challenge

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Brian Bolus and Fred Titmus are facing a double challenge for their places on England's selection committee. The former Test pair will stand for re-election at next month's Test and County Cricket Board meeting.

But David Graveney, now general secretary of the Cricketers' Association, and Jack Simmons, who spent 22 seasons with Lancashire, have also been nominated.

TCCB members will vote on the two vacancies and the result will be announced on 8 March.

Other names like Bob Willis, Mark Nicholas and John Barclay had been mentioned as possible candidates in the wake of England's disastrous Ashes tour this winter.

But when nominations closed yesterday, there were only four runners to join the chairman Ray Illingworth on a five-man selection committee, which also includes the England manager, Keith Fletcher, and the captain, Mike Atherton.

Bolus, 61, and Titmus, 62, were elected a year ago and are known to have Illingworth's support in their bid to serve for another 12 months. But there is a feeling around the counties that younger selectors might be more in tune with the current game.

Graveney, 42, who retired from first-class cricket at the end of last season after a career that took in Gloucestershire, Somerset and Durham, certainly fits the bill. He has made it known he thinks it is "valuable to have someone on the committee who has recent experience of playing at county level."

Simmons, 53, ended his long and successful career with Lancashire in 1989, but has maintained close links with the game and watched the end of the Ashes tour in Australia.

TCCB members will conduct a thorough inquest of England's poor showing in Australia during next month's meeting - and Fletcher's job could be under threat, even though he is only half-way through a five-year contract.