Cricket: Fraser misses reject Tufnell

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND FLY to Australia on Wednesday without Phil Tufnell, a decision that Angus Fraser believes has denied the tourists the contribution of an Ashes match-winner. Fraser, a long-time friend of the spinner, feels that Tufnell's mercurial talents could have made a difference.

"The selectors have made their choice but there is little doubt that Phil is the best spinner in the country," he said. "At times he has not done himself justice and that has probably been his undoing now. He has won matches before for England and he is a potential crackerjack."

The Middlesex seamer believes that Tufnell is worth his place for more than just cricketing reasons. "He is great to have in the dressing-room and provides a positive influence on us all," he said. "It would be nice to see him touring with us but that is not up to the players and the selectors have decided against him."

Fraser will lead England's bowling attack in an effort to regain the famous urn they have not held since 1987, but he knows just how tough it will be. "Australia can beat any team in the world even on a off day so it comes down to us to decide how we can compete," he said.

"We will have to play like we did against South Africa in the last two Tests otherwise we will be in trouble from the start. They have real crackerjacks in Warne and McGrath and we don't, so it will have to be a group effort to get the Ashes back."

Fraser's team-mate Nasser Hussain was in fighting mood, believing that England have a real chance for the first time in 12 years. "This is a better side than we have had in long time and we are much harder to beat. There is a real fighting spirit in the team and we won't lie down for anyone," he said.

Yorkshire have abandoned plans to leave Headingley and move to a new pounds 50m stadium near Wakefield. The club have agreed to work with their landlords, Leeds Cricket Football & Athletic Company, to produce a plan for the redevelopment of their century-old stadium, which is in drastic need of modernisation.

"This is a fitting end to a season where Yorkshire has enjoyed a much improved position in the County Championship," the county's chairman, Keith Moss, said.

The agreement brings to an end almost two years of bitter fighting between the club and their landlords after Yorkshire announced their intention to quit Headingley. However, almost immediately, doubts were raised over their ability to raise the money required for the new stadium.