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Anorak | Class Must Out

Class Must Out

by | 17th, July 2003

‘ENGLAND’S cricket selectors will announce the squad to face the South Africans in the first Test of the five-match series next week.

Goughie stakes his claim

And the big question will be whether there is room for two of the old guard, Graham Thorpe and Darren Gough.

Opinions vary on the validity of both claims, one because of attitude, the other because of fitness – and both because of age.

No-one doubts that Thorpe is one of the best batsmen, if not the best batsman, in England, but recent personal problems have done great damage to his standing in the Test arena.

His late withdrawal from last winter’s tour, for instance, is not something the selectors can ignore.

However, he has come back this season seemingly rejuvenated, is in good form with the bat and seems to have his personal life back on an even keel.

Additionally, at 33 he has still potentially got a few years left in him.

With a batting order that contains 35-year-old Nasser Hussain and 40-year-old Alec Stewart, England may be glad of Thorpe as the older statesman in a year or so’s time.

As for the young pretenders, Robert Key has had ample opportunity to stake a claim. The fact that Thorpe’s return is being mooted shows that he hasn’t taken it.

As for the others, it is up to them to show that they are better than Thorpe, which none of them have done.

With Hussain and Stewart nearing retirement age, places will open up in the side anyway for them to fill.

As for Gough, the situation is a lot trickier as no-one really knows how his knee will hold up in a five-day match.

However, no-one really will know until he tries, so I would select him with James Anderson and probably Steve Harmison ahead of Richard Johnson.

It looks a pretty decent line-up to me: Vaughan, Trescothick, Butcher, Hussain, Thorpe, Stewart, Flintoff, Giles, Gough, Harmison, Anderson.

Unfair it may be on Anthony McGrath, who has passed 50 on both his Test innings so far, but as an all-rounder Andrew Flintoff is in a higher class. ‘



Posted: 17th, July 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink