Cricket / Fouthr Test: Selectors seem to dream

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IN 1989, the selectors, principally Micky Stewart and Ted Dexter, in his first series as chairman, talked David Gower, the captain, out of playing John Emburey, the only spinner in the squad, against Australia in the first Test at Headingley.

Gower won the toss and on advice, one hears, put Australia in and watched them score 601 for 7 declared against England's all-seam attack, which was seen desperately to lack variation. Australia went on to win by more than 200 runs.

Now, four years later, the selectors - Dexter, Keith Fletcher, Dennis Amiss and Graham Gooch - somehow contrived to come to a similar decision and again to leave out their only spinner, Peter Such, and to go in with four full-time seamers and Gooch himself as a part-time fifth.

If the pitch had been a seamer's dream, wickets would have fallen and four regular seamers may have been too many. This did not happen and the plainness and the similarity, not to mention the indifference of the attack, was an embarrassment well before lunch. Such had to play as an insurance policy.

England were crying out for some variety before the game was half-way through the first day and yet the men in charge solemnly and seriously came to the same absurd decision, one which made as little sense now as it had then.