Lamb non-committal on captaincy

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The Independent Online
Tim Lamb, the chief executive of the English Cricket Board, dismissed talk of Mike Atherton being named captain for the Ashes series as premature.

Lamb praised Atherton for his performance in Christchurch but refused to commit himself to supporting him for the skipper's role. "I think Mike has shown his resilience and has obviously regained his form with that tremendous performance in Christchurch," Lamb said. "But there are five international matches on this tour. It is a little premature to be taking a decision on the captain for the summer series."

England's assistant coach, John Emburey, though, believes that Atherton has proved there is no better man to face Australia. "He's got to captain the side against Australia," he said. "Even if we had drawn or lost today I would hope that he will still have captained the side.''

According to England's coach, David Lloyd, his New Zealand counterpart, Steve Rixon, made a bad error by telling reporters on the fourth evening that England's players might not be able to handle the pressure.

"Steve Rixon is a lovely chap but he gave us a terrific spur by saying that we couldn't play under pressure," Lloyd said. "I needed to say nothing else than that to the lads before we started the final day."

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