Fletcher frees Vaughan to find form

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The Independent Online

England have allowed captain Michael Vaughan and opener Andrew Strauss extra match practice tomorrow in an attempt to rediscover their form prior to the announcement of the squad for the first Test against Bangladesh.

England have allowed captain Michael Vaughan and opener Andrew Strauss extra match practice tomorrow in an attempt to rediscover their form prior to the announcement of the squad for the first Test against Bangladesh.

Although the chairman of selectors David Graveney insisted he was "not concerned" by nearly all England's leading batsmen failing to make significant runs in the first few weeks of the summer, the coach Duncan Fletcher had a rethink yesterday and freed two of his most important players for tomorrow's matches.

Vaughan was given more time off than his team-mates following last winter's tours and has played only three championship innings, but until passing 50 against Leicestershire yesterday, he had not reached 20.

Strauss is in an even more worrying position after failing to reach 50 in eight matches, a run which has included six scores under 20, as the selectors prepare to meet in London prior to tomorrow's announcement of the first Test squad.

There are similar worries about the form of Marcus Trescothick, who is also yet to score more than 22 so far this season, while wicketkeeper Geraint Jones is among those who are yet to score a half-century so far this summer.

At least Graveney could console himself with a timely century from Kevin Pietersen yesterday for Hampshire after a similarly barren run so far this season. Pietersen's 125 may just nudge the selectors in his direction as they consider his claims alongside Ian Bell and Robert Key.

The England and Wales Cricket Board yesterday confirmed that Glamorgan have lodged a complaint about the Gloucestershire pace bowler Steve Kirby over an alleged ball-tampering incident.

Glamorgan allege Kirby deliberately scuffed the ball on the concrete surface behind the pavilion when the former Yorkshire bowler left the pitch to retrieve it following a David Hemp six.

* South Africa's captain Graeme Smith has been banned for four one-day international matches for time wasting during his side's match against West Indies on Wednesday.

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