Graveney's worry over replacing centurions

David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, has revealed England's desire to keep Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart at the heart of their plans as the pair prepare to make their 100th Test appearances against the West Indies at Old Trafford on Thursday.

David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, has revealed England's desire to keep Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart at the heart of their plans as the pair prepare to make their 100th Test appearances against the West Indies at Old Trafford on Thursday.

Both the 37-year-old Stewart and Atherton, who is only 32 but has been troubled by back trouble for the majority of his career, have indicated they will continue playing as long as they can perform at the highest level.

"It's a worry for me how we're going to replace them," Graveney said. "I'm not saying they can't be replaced, but it isn't going to be easy and I hope we can squeeze a good few more Tests out of them yet. They are different characters, but I regard both of them as perfect role models for anybody who wants to play sport for their country.

"Their passion for the game is no different now to what it was before the first Test they played. Alec is a fine example because of the way he has maintained and worked on his fitness, enabling him to be two players in one.

"With Athers, you just marvel at his stubbornness at the crease and the courage he has displayed. I don't think any of us will really know just how much pain he was in at times with his back and yet he missed very few Tests."

Comments