Cricket: Illingworth Opts for Continuity
Pringle, Derek, The Independent (London, England)
A single mobile-telephone call between Michael Atherton and Raymond Illingworth was all it took to persuade the England chairman to name an unchanged squad for the second Test at Lord's on Thursday. But while this is a luxury England deserve after their win in the last Test, for once it is the visitors, defeated again at the weekend by Derbyshire, who need to ring all the changes.
It is an unusual situation for England to be in as they have often been guilty of getting through almost as many players in the course of a series as Heinz have varieties - although there is plenty of the summer left.
In fact, not since the fifth Test in the West Indies in April 1994 - which followed the team's glorious win in Barbados - have England fought off the urge to tinker with their side.
Curiously, it is a habit that coincides with Illingworth's reign as chairman of selectors; a post he took over preaching cohesion and continuity. Since that Antigua Test, England have played 23 Test matches, and with Nick Knight's broken finger still an issue (Alec Stewart is on standby) there is no guarantee that sequence will not be extended to 24.
Having seen a specialist, however, Knight has declared himself fit. Following a frustrating start to his Test career, he is understandably reluctant to give a rival opening batsman a chance. All the same, it will be a shame if he has to compromise his brilliant fielding simply to keep his place. A break bad enough to miss two important games for his county cannot surely have healed enough in a week to be ready for a Test match.
It is not a dilemma that faces Kent's left-arm spinner Min Patel, who may lose his place to Peter Martin, who played in the equivalent fixture last …
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Publication information: Article title: Cricket: Illingworth Opts for Continuity. Contributors: Pringle, Derek - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: June 17, 1996. Page number: S2. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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