Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England to Resolve Its African Dilemmas

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England to Resolve Its African Dilemmas

Article excerpt

Byline: By Myles Hodgson

England will put an end to the uncertainty over their winter one-day plans today when they announce their squads for the tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The England and Wales Cricket Board are determined to select their strongest squad for Zimbabwe, although any players following Steve Harmison's lead and making themselves unavailable on moral grounds will not be punished.

There has been speculation that Andrew Flintoff and Ashley Giles may join Harmison's boycott and Andrew Strauss has also voiced his uneasiness about travelling.

Resting players may have made it easier to leave out some senior players but the ECB are keen to send their strongest side.

Coach Duncan Fletcher wanted to rest players like Flintoff, Marcus Trescothick and even captain Michael Vaughan because of their heavy workload anyway but his request was blocked by ECB chairman David Morgan.

It means only those players with injuries will not have to travel, unless they follow Harmison's example.

Once again, the Zimbabwe controversy is overshadowing English cricket, despite an outstanding summer on the field.

The squads were chosen yesterday and chairman of selectors David Graveney was yesterday informing the players.

Graveney said: "It will be my job to inform players of the happy news that they have been chosen to play for England, but I will also have to ask them whether they will be happy to go to Zimbabwe ( that's an important question to ask."

On the injury situation, he added: "A lot of players have been carrying a number of injuries during the summer and it will be up to the medical staff to inform the selectors if a period of rest would be beneficial for the demanding programme they have ahead of them.

"We're not trying to conceal anything. These guys, particularly the core players who play both Tests and one-day internationals, have been playing constant international cricket for a very long time. …

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