Cricket: England's selectors spoiled for choice: Young guns stake their claim

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The Independent Online
MARK RAMPRAKASH, Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe have staked strong claims to be included in the side for England's opening match against Antigua on Sunday.

The three young batsmen have shown excellent form in the nets since England arrived in the West Indies last weekend.

However, given the strong competition for places, it is likely one will miss out. 'It's going to be difficult picking this first team because all 17 of the lads have done well and are desperately keen to play,' Keith Fletcher, the team manager, said.

'We've had a good first week so far. All I've had to do is make sure the guys don't do too much work. There's a great spirit developing already.'

However there is a doubt concerning Phil Tufnell, who has injured his left shoulder. The Middlesex spinner received a cortisone injection on Tuesday and, although he can bowl without pain, throwing might still be a problem by the weekend.

Phil Neale, England A's coach, believes points should be awarded in the County Championship for earning draws.

After his side saved the match against Orange Free State on Monday, Neale said: 'Getting out of a game with a draw when the other side has been on top is an important part of Test cricket. In the four-day championship the same should apply.'

England A begin the penultimate match of the tour, a four-day game against Border, tomorrow.