GRAHAM GOOCH yesterday shrugged off newspaper criticism of England's tour party and defended the selectors' decision to leave the Oval match- winners, Phil Tufnell and Andy Caddick, out of their 17-man squad.
England were greeted upon their arrival in Perth yesterday by an article in the local newspaper by the former Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee claiming that England had "blundered badly" and had "shot themselves in the foot".
"Rather than flying into Perth on the euphoria of their courageous series win against South Africa, the tourists have blundered badly by revealing their innermost fears," he said as England arrived in Perth to prepare for the series starting next month. "I find it quite amazing that, before a ball has been bowled in anger, England have put their cards on the table over Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne," he said. But Gooch, facing the Australian media for the first time since England's arrival in the early hours of the morning after a gruelling 28-hours flight, insisted they would not listen to newspaper talk and backed the touring party to prove their critics wrong. "We think that the guys that have been selected are the right guys for the trip over here," stressed Gooch. "We want to create a very tight-knit team spirit and the guys that have been left behind are unlucky. …