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Australia's Buchanan joins enemy

England insisted yesterday that the former Australia coach John Buchanan will not be part of their Ashes campaign. If the denials are indeed correct it is a something of a pity, not necessarily because Andrew Strauss's lads will miss the chance of learning from one of the game's most successful coaches, but because they will not be exposed to the sayings of Chinese philosophers.

Who knows where the aphorisms of the great military strategist, Sun Tzu, might have taken England? Examples of the wisdom of Sun Tzu and others were often popped under Australia players' hotel room doors to try to broaden their minds and therefore their approach to cricket.

But it seems that Buchanan's eight-day trip to this country later this month has been arranged so he can spend time with the England Under 16 and Under 18 sides. The ECB said they have hired him on an ad hoc basis partly because of his success with Australia and partly because he was coach while Australia were rearing a multitude of talented cricketers.

No doubt the cerebral Buchanan will pass on psychological as well as technical nuggets, however.