Gough can still play England role

In Test cricket, England look a well balanced and organised side. Each player knows his role and goes about his business with the minimum of fuss. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about those wearing the one-day blue of England.

In Test cricket, England look a well balanced and organised side. Each player knows his role and goes about his business with the minimum of fuss. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about those wearing the one-day blue of England.

England's selectors had plenty to consider before announcing their one-day squad for the NatWest series this morning. Do they pick Geraint Jones, after his century in the second Test, ahead of Chris Read? Do they continue with Darren Gough? Do they persevere with Rikki Clarke, even though the Surrey man has done little to warrant selection? And does Michael Vaughan continue to open in this form of the game when he has slipped down the order in Test cricket?

These are just four of the issues which have been debated as England attempt to develop a squad of players that is capable of winning the World Cup.

For this summer, though, England's plans for 2007 should be put on hold and minds should be focused on September's Champions Trophy. This "mini World Cup" is the second most important one-day competition and it will be the last major tournament England host for at least a decade.

After dismal showings in the last three World Cups it is vital that England perform well on home soil and they should use this summer's one-day internationals as the stage to get their squad firing.

During England's one-day series in the Caribbean several scribes felt that Gough should be pensioned off. I disagree. The 33-year-old fast bowler is no longer the force he was but he still has a role to play. His presence will improve England's chances of success and allow the selectors to give Stephen Harmison a well deserved rest without weakening the side.

Jones proved at Headingley that he is a better batsman than Read and many feel he should take over from the Nottinghamshire keeper in both forms of the game. Again, I would differ. In this Test match Jones has shown he can keep wicket but Read's unorthodox batting and his ability to stand up to the wicket against medium pacers should be taken into consideration.

Anthony McGrath travelled to the West Indies but failed to play a game. There seems little point persevering with him experience could be given to Warwickshire's Ian Bell. There is also a case for drafting in Robert Key but it would make more sense to save him for the Test side.

ANGUS FRASER'S 15: M P Vaughan (capt), M E Trescothick, A J Strauss, P D Collingwood, I R Bell, A Flintoff, R Clarke, I D Blackwell, C M W Read (wkt), G J Batty, A F Giles, D Gough, J M Anderson, S J Harmison, R J Kirtley.

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