Cricket: Who's who in the tour party to play in India and Sri Lanka

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GRAHAM GOOCH

Essex

Age: 39 Tests: 99

THE ultimate leader by example, and, if no tactical genius, he does possess the priceless gift of persuading a team to perform above the level of its individual abilities. The swashbuckler of mid-20s exuberance has long since been replaced by a remorseless grinder.

ALEC STEWART

Surrey

Age: 29 Tests: 22

THE best timer of the ball in an England side since Gower, Stewart can score all round the wicket, and is one of the few capable of taking the initiative away from Test bowlers. His best batting positions - opening or No 3 - are being denied him by the pressure to keep wicket, which may not be the best use of limited resources.

MICHAEL ATHERTON

Lancashire

Age: 24 Tests: 21

BACK on the tour schedule after a winter off with back problems and still with ground to make up after creating a favourable early impression. His soft-handed technique and deceptive determination should both be suited to conditions in India.

RICHARD BLAKEY

Yorkshire

Age: 25 Tests: 0

A GLITTERING reputation as a young batsman of the highest Yorkshire pedigree was in danger of never being realised, but he has been in form this summer, has learned from Sachin Tendulkar and has worked to brush up his wicketkeeping. Made a nervy, though undoubtedly gutsy debut in the one- day series against Pakistan.

PHILLIP DeFREITAS

Lancashire

Age: 26 Tests: 31

ENGLAND'S most accurate seamer was badly missed when a groin injury kept him out of the last three Tests this summer, and he will be expected to be the mainstay of the attack in India. The pitches will not help him, though, and he could be in for a long, hard winter.

JOHN EMBUREY

Middlesex

Age: 40 Tests: 60

A SELECTION which will hardly encourage the growing number of young off-spinners in the Championship, but one which was hardly surprising given his experience and accuracy. Emburey been bowling slightly slower and in a more attacking vein this year, and it has clearly worked as he has taken 76 first-class wickets.

NEIL FAIRBROTHER

Lancashire

Age: 28 Tests: 7

THE quickest scorer in the party, but his open-faced technique has always counted against him in Test selections. An average of eight has not exactly helped his cause. After several excellent one- day innings, though, he is now mature, confident and in his prime - not to mention a brilliant fielder.

MIKE GATTING

Middlesex

Age: 35 Tests 68

THE best batsman at work in the Championship and a murderer of anything but the highest calibre bowling, which India do not possess. He took a long time to adjust to Test cricket, but he came of age in India last time when he scored a memorable double-hundred. Another one this winter is not unlikely.

GRAEME HICK

Worcestershire

Age: 26 Tests: 11

THIS must be when Hick makes the transition he has found so difficult. His brilliance in the one-day series against Pakistan will have helped his confidence, and the pitches and bowling in India should be to his liking as well. But much the same was said before last winter's tour to New Zealand and the World Cup.

PAUL JARVIS

Yorkshire

Age: 27 Tests: 6

THE biggest surprise. He last played for England in the appalling Ashes series of 1989 then went to South Africa. Has been beset by injuries this season, has taken only 36 wickets, and not once has he managed five in an innings. At his rare best, he is a destructive bowler.

CHRIS LEWIS

Nottinghamshire

Age: 24 Tests: 14

HAS promised more than he has delivered for England so far, but at least the promise is huge. Capable of bowling genuinely quick spells and of batting with class. His fielding is exceptional, but as with Hick, this is an important tour when he will begin to be judged as much by contribution as potential.

DEVON MALCOLM

Derbyshire

Age: 29 Tests: 21

THE quickest bowler available in the absence of David Lawrence, and not just the erratic eccentric he is sometimes painted. He worked hard on his accuracy on the A tour to West Indies last year, and confirmed his rehabilitation with five wickets in an innings in the Oval Test against Pakistan.

DERMOT REEVE

Warwickshire

Age: 29 Tests: 3

SHARES Ian Botham's competitive instincts, if not his ability. He played an important role in the World Cup but a hip injury ruled him out for most of the summer. Returned to the squad for the last three one-dayers, where his niggly medium pace and exaggerated slower ball were again effective.

ROBIN SMITH

Hampshire

Age: 28 Tests: 36

FOR one of the world's great players, Smith still has something to prove, especially overseas. He has never scored a Test hundred outside England, although he has scored seven at home. His rigid technique might give him problems in India, too, but one certainty is that no one will work harder for success.

PAUL TAYLOR

Northamptonshire

Age: 28 Tests: 0

CAME with a late rush to book his place, but his haul of 64 Championship wickets bears comparison with anyone. Played a dozen games for Derbyshire during three seasons in the mid-1980s then drifted out of first-class cricket until Northamptonshire signed him in 1991.

PHIL TUFNELL

Middlesex

Age: 26 Tests: 10

A REAL rarity - a proven Test match-winning spinner. Not even Mushtaq Ahmed can boast that yet. Temperamentally suspect perhaps, but certainly worth cajoling, and has bowled England to two victories in the last two years. He will have to do so again if the tour is to be successful.

Compiled by Hugh Bateson

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