England selectors stand by their team

Cricket

The England selectors, keen to play their role in the psychological warfare in this Ashes series, have acted with unprecedented speed in naming an unchanged squad for the Headingley Test on 24 July, just 24 hours after losing the third Test. By keeping faith with those involved in the debacle at Old Trafford, the message to Australia is one of confidence and faith, sentiments mostly lacking when England have lost in the past.

The chairman of selectors, David Graveney, and his co- selector Graham Gooch were at Old Trafford on Sunday, where they spoke to Mike Gatting by telephone. Having agreed on the same side plus Phil Tufnell, they felt it was in everyone's interest to announce it sooner rather than later. "We felt we needed to select the side as soon as possible," Graveney said yesterday. "As selectors we were keen to indicate confidence in the XI at Old Trafford."

Two of those involved in the build-up for the last Test, Devon Malcolm and Mike Smith, have been left out, though the selectors can still make changes should injury or conditions take them by surprise. However, the pair, along with Essex's Ashley Cowan and the Hollioake brothers will join the squad for a two-day seminar prior to the Test.

The get-together, like the one during April, will once again involve Will Carling's company, Insights, who hope to obtain the services of the Lions coaches, Ian McGeechan and Jim Telfer, in an attempt to refocus England's bid for the Ashes.

"There are lessons to be learnt from Old Trafford," Graveney continued. "The seminar is a good opportunity for us to assess things. At 1-1, we have a great chance to win the series and `Bumble' [David Lloyd] in particular, wants to re-affirm how we want to win.

"The players realise that they are in the middle of a major scrap. But we have to remember how positively we played at Edgbaston. The side who wins this series will be the one that bounces better off the ropes. Australia showed they could do it. Now we must."

If there is one wish, apart from winning the Ashes, that Michael Atherton has cherished above all since becoming captain - other than a gagging order on Raymond Illingworth - it is that continuity over team selection be observed.

Now that is happening, he must prove its merits. England may have been outclassed in Manchester, but by not making changes they clearly believe they have the players and the game plan to beat Australia for a second time. However, as we saw, things do not always pan out as you expect and despite having by far the best conditions to bowl and bat in, as well as the right team to exploit them, England were roundly trounced.

When that happens, confidence can be totally flattened, though this brisk selection should at least serve to calm the apprehensions of those, like Andy Caddick and Mark Ealham, who might have felt their position coming under review.

Indeed, had the squad not been announced until next Sunday, only Mark Butcher, John Crawley and the eight-wicket debutant Dean Headley could have slept soundly after England's glaring errors on the first two days at Old Trafford.

Moping after losing can be counter-productive at this time of the season and the selectorial speed will have helped to fulfill Atherton's desire for his players to return for the fourth Test "feeling mentally refreshed".

To the Australians, used to beating England and then watching them capitulate further into disarray, the announcement will certainly have had some novelty value. It may not ruin their Scottish sojourn, but it will probably raise an eyebrow or two when the news finally reaches the golf course.

It may not be the reaction of a team overconcerned about their opponents, but then Pommie bravado has never much bothered them before.

ENGLAND SQUAD (for fourth Test): M A Atherton (capt), M A Butcher, A J Stewart (wkt), N Hussain, G P Thorpe, J P Crawley, M A Ealham, R D B Croft, D Gough, A R Caddick, D W Headley, P C R Tufnell.

More cricket, page 23

Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect