England have no alternative to imports, says Vaughan

Former captain believes lack of local talent has led to influx of South Africans
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The Independent Online

England have little choice but to turn to the likes of Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen due to the failings of the domestic system, according to Michael Vaughan.

The former England captain recently stirred up a storm by accusing Trott, born and raised in Cape Town, of celebrating with South African players in the wake of their series win in England last year. Vaughan wrote in his autobiography that it was a "sad day for English cricket" and that the incident "hit home what English cricket has become like".

Vaughan yesterday said that he has no individual issues with Trott and his ilk playing for England – rather the fault lies with the development of home-grown players, leaving the selectors with little choice but to turn to naturalised imports.

"If they are committed and dedicated to becoming the best players it is not a problem," said Vaughan. "Trott is Mr Consistent, a really good player. We have got to look at our structure and development and bring players through. We are fortunate in a way we've got these guys to pick – Trott, Pietersen, [Allan] Lamb, [Graeme] Hick, [Robin] Smith – it goes back. If we hadn't been able to pick those where would we have been? All I'd like is to see players come through our system."

Lamb and Smith played for England during the Apartheid era, when there was no South Africa team playing international cricket, but Trott and Pietersen could yet be followed into the current Test side by Stephen Moore, born and schooled in Johannesburg, and Craig Kieswetter, a former South African Under-19 wicketkeeper/batsman.

Moores yesterday scored 68 for England's shadow side against Gauteng in Pretoria and is conceivably a couple of broken fingers away from a Test place this winter. Kieswetter recently rejected a plea by Graeme Smith to return to the South African fold. He has been fast-tracked into the England performance squad.

During his time in charge of England Vaughan was said to have been far from impressed when presented with the selection of Darren Pattinson, who had left Grimsby for Australia at the age of six, for the Headingley Test match against South Africa last year.

The development of players is an issue Vaughan is known to have felt strongly about during his time as captain and his concerns are backed up by a glance around the domestic game. There is not a ready stock of young, English-born and raised talent pushing for Test places. Trott may well assume the key No 3 slot in the Test side by the end of the series in South Africa having proved a better player than either Ian Bell or Ravi Bopara, successively the two great hopes of English batting.

The development side that played yesterday fielded a seam attack of Ryan Sidebottom (31), Amjad Khan (29), Mark Davies (29), Liam Plunkett (24) and Steve Finn (20), while the batting, bolstered by the addition of Alastair Cook and Bell from the Test squad, had Moore and the 29-year-old Michael Carberry making up the top four.

Kolpak players have been a feature of county cricket in recent years. Some of them could be accused of abusing a system whereby they can sign as non-overseas players via EU passports and trade agreements, provided they agree not to play for their home country. Ryan McLaren did just that at Kent, and is now a rising star in South Africa's one-day side. "I'm not having that," said Vaughan. "He used our system very well, got himself an education. It's irritating, but there is nothing you can do."