England regroup as Lloyd lets off steam

Cricket

reports from Harare

It may not feel like the season of goodwill, and Harare is the last place on earth you would expect to see a White Christmas, but that is no excuse for England to play humbug, particularly their coach, David Lloyd, whose latest gaffe was to get involved in a verbal altercation with Ian Goggen, the chairman of the Mashonaland Association who is an official from the Zimbabwe cricket union, immediately after last Sunday's dramatic finish.

The incident, described in a local paper as "an exchange of words," was heated enough to have been brought to the attention of Hanumant Singh, the match referee. In a statement issued yesterday, Singh decided that no further action would be taken, indicating that the matter had been resolved quickly and amicably.

It is a view unlikely to be taken at face value by the barnstorming new chairman of the England Board, Lord MacLaurin, who arrives here on Friday. MacLaurin, who has already stated his desire for English cricket to become a more consumer friendly product, is unlikely to have been impressed by this latest indiscretion and will hopefully seek an explanation from Lloyd, who is barred from commenting about it by ICC regulations.

For a series that was meant to be gift-wrapped, it has certainly been a frustrating time for England, who now have five days to salvage something other than ignominy from this tour. It will not be easy, not least because of the weather and every night so far, Harare has been lit up like Dracula's castle by heavy thunderstorms.

The pitch, should saturated outfields prove playable, will be slow, and will probably offer some early assistance to the seam bowlers. Unless they drop Phil Tufnell, England's response will be to replace Chris Silverwood with Craig White, who despite not having bowled a ball in Zimbabwe is now set to play irrespective of the final balance of the attack.

This gives England an extra batsman to bat at seven behind the six that played in Bulawayo, leaving them - if Tufnell plays - with just two and a half seam bowlers, a risky gambit considering that White has yet to prove his worth at Test level. For a side whose coach remains convinced that they had "flippin' murdered the opposition," last week, the combination smacks of must-not-lose defensiveness.

It is also flawed and should England bowl first without Silverwood in the side, there will be no one to probe that full wicket-taking length needed on a slow seamer. Instead an unvarying diet of Mullally, Gough and White will prevail, bowlers who all prefer to hit the pitch short of a length, a method that provided a rich source of runs for Zimbabwe's top order in the last Test.

Having derived far more than England from the result of the last Test, Zimbabwe are still likely to make changes and the left-hander Mark Dekker is certain to open the batting in place of Stuart Carlisle, who looked hopelessly out of his depth. Unless Eddo Brandes, who damaged his ankle last week, is fit, the bowling will probably remain unchanged unless water gets under the covers.

For England, who spent the festive season trying to fit in practice between thunderstorms, there is now a Test match to be won. However, before the plotting starts, they may like to consider the ghosts of England tours past.

Since the Boxing Day Test 10 years ago, when Mike Gatting's England last won the Ashes, their record abroad has been appalling. In 42 overseas Tests, including last Sunday's thrilling draw, England have won only five. Evidence that, away from home at least, we don't tend to "flippin' murder" anyone.

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick