'Pick yourselves up after the putdowns'
England have the spirit to bounce back, says Graveney in rallying call
Sunday 31 July 2005
"Be assured this is a team of character," he said. "They have shown it in the past two years, they can bounce back. The biggest worry for us would have been if we had created no chances in the First Test at all.
"That would have been a serious problem, but it wasn't the case. They've got to clear their heads, realise why they were selected and trust their ability. Forget what people are writing and saying about you."
He spoke similarly of the captain, Michael Vaughan. "It's a huge job, being captain of England. He's batting like a bloke with a lot of things in his head. He needs somehow to clear it. Everybody has got to do that. Playing against this lot is another level up. People think they're arrogant but they're just very confident people."
Graveney's words seemed to indicate that the selectors were not for turning from the team who were eventually swept aside by 239 runs at Lord's, and were obviously designed to allay fears that the campaign was not forlorn. At least not yet. He intends to visit Edgbaston, where the Second npower Test begins on Thursday, "to put an arm round the players' shoulders".
"I will tell them why they were selected in the first place and remind them of the spirit which has taken them this far. That is our greatest strength, and if we can play to our ability in Birmingham, the crowd will really get behind us."
Graveney's panel has been under enormous pressure from pundits, many of them former players, to make changes. Paul Collingwood, the Durham batsman, who completed his fourth hundred of the summer on Friday, has suddenly been pushed to the forefront of the fringe candidates.
The panel will certainly have looked at Collingwood's claims closely, but should have decided that his inclusion would be a defensive move that showed they got it wrong in the first place.
Graveney will try to ensure that the players regain the self-belief which drained from them as the match at Lord's progressed and was patently absent in their public pronouncements last week.
"We've all got to be positive and back our belief as selectors, but most importantly as players," he said. "There are proper reasons for England being able to challenge because of the way we have played. We have earned the right to have that expectation. If we play to our ability we can win. There are certain areas where they can accelerate away from us, but we came back after defeat in Cape Town in the winter. It's not a dream, it's something we can do and have done."
England cannot now think beyond Edgbaston, where the least they can afford is a draw. But the Third Test at Old Trafford starts two days later.
The Manchester pitch is taking spin hugely this summer, and Shane Warne's fingers and England's nerves could already be twitching.
- 1 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns aged 27
- 3 Cilla Black defends Cliff Richard: 'I am positive that the allegations are without foundation'
- 4 Nicki Minaj finally releases predictable 'Anaconda' video
- 5 James Foley 'beheading': Met police warn public watching murder video could be criminal offence
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish Independence Referendum: Salmond described as 'arrogant, ambitious and dishonest' by Scottish women