Cricket: So who would you have in the team?: Cricket lovers make their own selection

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The Independent Online
TIM RICE Lyricist

Atherton (capt), Rhodes, Stewart, Fraser, Smith, Udal, Lamb, Gough, Fairbrother, Malcolm, Hick, Tufnell

ALLAN LAMB is selected in the hope that he will return the compliment and invite me to his 40th birthday party. And also because I feel the inspiration of an older man would bring the best out of Robin Smith. Neil Fairbrother is a wonderful player, a leftie who moves it along. If he could be given three matches against New Zealand he would feel part of the set-up and should fulfil his potential. I believe we should pick for the present, and I'm sure Graeme Hick will probably make a hatful of runs. I think Tufnell might be helped by all his troubles and we should shove him back in the deep end. I was impressed by both Udal and Gough in the one-day international. The three players unluckiest to miss out are Cork, Thorpe and Hussain.

ARTHUR SMITH Comedian and playwright

Atherton (capt), L Kennard, Stewart, A Smith, Crawley, Fraser, Gower, Tufnell, Fairbrother, Malcolm, Botham, R & J Madeley

THE selection of L Kennard might raise a few eyebrows but he is a very good wicketkeeper, a useful bat and worth a place for his sledging alone. I am confident that he will easily make the small step up in class required to move from the Dufty Fleming International Hairstylists to the England XI. The selection of a certain A Smith, a nifty leg spinner, will not surprise the keen student of the game. With Tufnell keeping one end quiet Smith's wily leg breaks are certain to confuse top-flight batsmen. Graham Gooch is dropped for visiting South Africa and Robin Smith for being too butch. They are replaced by a couple of dilettantes, Gower and Fairbrother. Richard and Judy Madeley should be able to cope with the 12th-man duties.

BARRY NORMAN Film critic

Atherton (capt), Rhodes, Stewart, Caddick, Gooch, Fraser, Crawley, Gough, Smith, Tufnell, White, Udal

I WOULD select the lugubrious Graham Gooch for the problem No 3 position because the sight of him bumbling out to the middle always fills me with confidence. Further, it releases Robin Smith to bat where he should, at No 5. Batting lower down the order I am confident he will come through his present poor patch. Otherwise, I have gone for youth. The New Zealand series offers a great chance for the younger players to develop confidence. Frankly, if they fail in this series we can forget about them. On the bowling front, DeFreitas and Lewis should be forgotten forever and Salisbury needs to develop more control. For once, I am confident we will win the series although I am worried that if we don't Illy will bring back the old guard.

GARY LINEKER Former England footballer

Atherton (capt), Russell, Stewart, Udal, Crawley, Gough, Smith, Fraser, Ramprakash, Malcolm, Thorpe, Lamb

I FEEL that in both football and cricket we generally discard players too early. Therefore, I feel that Allan Lamb should be part of the set-up. I would love to include David Gower as well, but I fear it is perhaps just a bit too late for him. He would be my nominal 13th man. I would not select Graham Gooch as I strongly believe that you should not pick and choose when you play for your country. And I'm afraid that Graeme Hick has had one chance too many. Instead, I would pick Crawley, Ramprakash and Thorpe who I feel are the pick of the new crop of batsmen. Finally, I am a big fan of Jack Russell and, despite his problems in the West Indies, I still think he is the country's best wicketkeeper.

FRANCES EDMONDS Broadcaster and author

Boycott, Botham, Atherton, Downton, Gower, Edmonds, Lamb, Emburey, Randall, Willis, Brearley (capt), Marks

THERE'S no substitute for class and if they're old enough they're good enough. To be honest, today's cricketers, like policemen, look like children to me. I would make wholesale changes and bring back the heroes of the game. First name on the list is David Gower. Then, we need Lamby for a bit of ebullience in the dressing-room and Ian Botham to give the tabloid papers something to write about. Geoff Boycott must play because I love the man and Mike Brearley could double up as the team psychologist. Willis is the only fast bowler we've had for hundreds of years and is still the quickest. Mike Atherton is my one concession to youth, although he must bow to Brearley as captain. Paul Downton and Vic Marks have to play because they are such nice guys.

ROBERT ATKINS Former sports minister

Atherton (capt), Rhodes, Stewart, Caddick, Crawley, Fraser, Gooch,Tufnell, Smith, Malcolm, Hick, M Bicknell

THE first names on the list must be the captain and the wicketkeeper. Atherton should continue as captain and, although it's tough on Russell, I would pick Rhodes because I feel he's the better batsman. Lancashire's John Crawley must play because he's good enough and if we don't pick him now when are we going to select him? The hardest decision is between Hick and Thorpe, but in the end I'd plump for Hick because he offers an extra bowling option. If he bowled more often he could develop into a genuine all-rounder. As for the bowling, I'm a Martin Bicknell fan and would pick him above Igglesden, Watkin and McCague. If the pitch is unresponsive to spin he would play and Tufnell would be my 12th man.

RACHAEL HEYHOE FLINT Former England captain

Atherton (capt), Rhodes, Stewart, Udal, Smith, Fraser, Hick, Caddick, Thorpe, Gough, Gooch, Ilott

THE vital thing is for England to reclaim the Ashes and, if they are to do that, they must get back into winning ways. Therefore, I have picked Gooch, our premier batsman, even though he's not a long-term bet. If he re-establishes himself it will be very hard to leave him out for the tour to Australia. I would adore Gower to be back and hoped when they were in the West Indies that the whole team would be struck by Bajan belly leaving David to play on his own. I was very tempted to select Crawley and he will replace Smith if the Hampshire man suffers a loss in form. I'm afraid Russell wasn't as sharp as usual in the West Indies, probably due to the bloody awful wickets, and it's time to give Rhodes a chance.

TREVOR McDONALD Newscaster

Atherton (capt), Lewis, Stewart, Rhodes, Gooch, Salisbury, A P Wells, Malcolm, Thorpe, Fraser, White

THE crucial thing for any Test team is balance. I think this one have it. They have a sound opening partnership, allied to the solid power of Graham Gooch at No 3. I wanted to give Alan Wells, who has been in such good form for Sussex, the chance to demonstrate his technique, and to reward Graham Thorpe for his courageous batting in the West Indies. Craig White lends all-round ability just where it's needed in the order, Lewis's commitment appears beyond question now, and Rhodes needs the opportunity to prove his real worth. Salisbury must be brought back into the England fold; he's a fighter who gives 100 per cent. Malcolm and Fraser are, on their day, the best quick bowlers in the country.

FRANK SKINNER Comedian

Atherton, Paul Smith, Stewart, Rhodes, Twose, Gough, Fairbrother, Tufnell, Ostler, Malcolm, Reeve (capt), Moles

MUCH as I like Atherton, my first decision would be to appoint the inspirational Dermot Reeve as captain. They used to say that when Yorkshire were strong England were strong; that maxim now applies to Warwickshire. I'd pick five men of Warwick, including the in-form Twose and the flamboyant Ostler. I would invite Chris Cowdrey to join my selection panel; he would approve my including Paul Smith as the second all-rounder. Hicky, Lewis, DeFreitas and Ramprakash will have to go. As I'm afraid will Gooch; there were too many carthorses in the field at Edgbaston last week. That Wilfred Bramble lookalike Phil Tufnell must play if only for his smoking and the Randallesque Fairbrother deserves one more chance.

DENIS COMPTON Former Test cricketer

Atherton (capt), Rhodes, Stewart, Salisbury, Smith, Fraser, Maynard, Gough, Crawley, Udal, White, Ingleby-McKenzie

WE MUST select good, young cricket competitors, rather than one-day specialists. And we must give them a chance to develop. Maynard is a case in point: he could be talented given a real chance. He should play in three or four Tests and bat at No 4 rather than six. There can be no place for Hick. It's the old story; he succeeds against people who can't bowl but fails against the good stuff. Even if he scores runs against New Zealand we still won't know how he'll cope with top-class bowling. Nor for Tufnell with the state he's in. The batsman I'd like to pick is Neil Fairbrother but I fear the selectors have missed the boat. It was a toss-up between Gooch and Ingleby-McKenzie for 12th man. I chose Colin - he makes better drinks.

DICKIE BIRD Umpire

Atherton (capt), Russell, Stewart, Such, Smith, Gough, Gooch, Fraser, Hick, Tufnell, White, Lewis

IT WAS a very difficult team to pick with a number of tough decisions. Gooch must play because he is one of the best in the world. The big problem, and it has been since Botham left, is the all-rounder position. However, Craig White might provide the answer. He is the most improved cricketer in the country having gained over a yard in pace from last season. If the pitch doesn't look as if it will take spin I would also play Lewis. I still think he's capable of getting his head down and making runs. Metson is the best wicketkeeper in the world but I would keep Russell because of his batting. But don't underestimate the New Zealanders. I umpired their last series against Pakistan and they came very close to winning.

WILLIE RUSHTON Humorist

Atherton (capt), Russell, Stewart, Salisbury, Crawley, Udal, Thorpe, Fraser, Brown, Malcolm, Lewis, Gower

THE emphasis should be on youth and exuberance. Hick has had enough tries. However many runs Smith makes against New Zealand, Warne is looming in the distance. Gooch is just too old and likely to give more runs away in the field than he makes with the bat. Surrey's Alistair Brown has terrific potential; he reminds me of Geoff Whittaker, an explosive cricketer who used to remove the tram traffic from outside The Oval. Thorpe, despite bearing an alarming resemblance to Angus Deayton, is another good bat. It is an interesting tail but I am confident that Lewis, Russell and Salisbury will make more runs than people might imagine. Lewis must be told that he's a batsman and to go for it, and Russell must look fitter.

(Photographs omitted)

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