Cricket: Job for brains and bravery: James Allen canvasses opinion on a future England captain

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DENIS COMPTON

Former England batsman

Mark Lathwell. From what I have seen of him he seems a cut above the rest of the younger generation and I don't really understand why they haven't played him before now. By then he would be 28. For a replacement for Graham Gooch now I would say Mark Nicholas of Hampshire.

PHIL NEALE

Former captain of Worcestershire, now director of cricket with Northamptonshire

It is a bit early to say which of those of the young generation will be a good captain, but of those around at the moment I would say that Mike Atherton has as good credentials as anybody. If and when he takes over, which is looking more likely by the day, I hope he is given a long run which would cover that kind of timescale, because I think the Australians have shown the benefit of continuity.

CLIVE RADLEY

Head coach, MCC

John Crawley. He would be about the right age, is an extremely good batsman and should be in the England side by then. There is no reason why he should not be a good captain.

MARK BENSON

Captain of Kent

I wouldn't know who is going to be captain at the end of the season, let alone in the year 2000.

TIM RICE

Lyricist and cricket lover

Michael Atherton. Because he's young enough and good enough.

RACHAEL

HEYHOE FLINT

Former captain of the England women's team

John Crawley or Mark Lathwell. From what I have read they both seem to be good young players. Another possibility might be Liam Botham.

TIM ROBINSON

Captain of Nottinghamshire

Mathew Dowman. He did well on the England Under-19 tour to India and he has captained our colts side well - I've been impressed by his captaincy. He's firmly entrenched in our second team now and scoring quite a few runs.

JOHN EMBUREY

England and Middlesex off-spinner

Michael Atherton. I don't think he will get the job just yet - by then he will be in his early thirties and will have had enough experience. John Crawley is another to consider. He is a good player, though he may well be in competition with Atherton for the captaincy of Lancashire.

JEFFREY ARCHER

Novelist, politician and cricket lover

Michael Atherton. Because he is steady and reliable and when he's captained sides in the past, at school and university, he's done it well and with confidence. He was really born to be captain.

E W SWANTON

Journalist

Michael Atherton or John Crawley. Because I think we need a bit of intellect and example from the leadership.

TREVOR McDONALD

Broadcaster and cricket lover

I don't know the younger generation well enough, because we seem to have had a policy of ignoring our youngsters. I think the situation would be different in Australia. There you might see a young player such as Michael Slater and say he's the one.

MATTHEW ENGEL

Editor of Wisden and

Guardian writer

I think we should be relieved if there are still Test matches and an England team in the year 2000. That's about as daring as I would want to be. Having said all that, anybody one could foresee doing the job soon, we would have to assume would have run out screaming by then.

NIGEL BRIERS

Captain of Leicestershire

John Crawley. He looks a good player, has a bit of pedigree and is quite young. There has been a lot of talk about him and he is the one that comes to mind if you are looking into the future. He has got a bit of a taste for captaincy.

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