Lloyd puts his foot in it again

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The England coach, David Lloyd, will not have endeared himself to Zimbabweans yesterday when he spoke about his team preferring "the food, climate and people of New Zealand".

Lloyd put his foot in it following England's emphatic innings victory over a New Zealand Select side, which went some way to help his team forget the first stage of their winter tour, which included a 3-0 one- day international series defeat in Zimbabwe.

"We're very pleased to kick off the New Zealand leg with a win as that breeds contentment," Lloyd said. "The observation we are more comfortable in New Zealand is valid. The food, climate and people are all more familiar."

Lloyd's assessment of why his side is happier in New Zealand was brutally frank - but it is a true reflection of the new positive state of mind within the England camp.

Mike Atherton and Graham Thorpe may still be struggling for runs, as in Zimbabwe, Andy Caddick may still be failing to make any impact and Jack Russell is still surplus to England's Test plans, but otherwise everyone is happier.

Phil Tufnell took 5 for 58 against the Select side and Lloyd said: "Tuffers bowled very well in what I thought was a very professional bowling performance."

Chris Silverwood claimed 3 for 29 to put himself in contention for the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland next Friday. "It's interesting to hear the opposing batsmen confirming he bowls a heavy ball," Lloyd said.

NEW ZEALAND (First Test v England, Auckland, 24-28 Jan) From: L K Germon (capt, wkt), B A Young, B A Pocock, A C Parore, S P Fleming, N J Astle, C L Cairns, J T C Vaughan, D N Patel, S B Doull, D K Morrison, M J Haslam.