Crunch Time for the Selectors as Ashes D-Day at the Oval Looms; There Are Headaches Ahead as Geoff Miller and Co Meet Today to Mull over the Squad for the Fifth Test. David Lloyd Reports

The Evening Standard (London, England), August 14, 2009 | Go to article overview

Crunch Time for the Selectors as Ashes D-Day at the Oval Looms; There Are Headaches Ahead as Geoff Miller and Co Meet Today to Mull over the Squad for the Fifth Test. David Lloyd Reports


Byline: David Lloyd

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IT'S make your mind up time for England's selectors. And a job that seemed so simple just a few weeks ago while Australia were being well beaten at Lord's now looks challenging enough to tax the old 'mission impossible' outfit.

There is no shortage of advice heading the way for Geoff Miller and his panel -- just a lack of players staking rock-solid claims.

Where the selectors are fortunate, however, is that they tend to pick a squad and leave the actual XI and batting order to captain Andrew Strauss and coach Andy Flower.

In theory, at least, there is nothing to stop them from sending 20 players to The Oval next week, along with a 'good luck' note, and then nipping off on holiday. But they won't. At today's meeting, a party of 13, possibly 14, will be picked and then mulled over for 24 hours or so before Sunday morning's eagerly-awaited announcement.

The players in contention for a place in a re-vamped batting order -- incum-bantRavi Bopara and Ian Bell, along with hopefuls Rob Key, Jonathan Trott have Mark Ranprakash -- have all had their chances to impress this week.

The Warwickshire duo of Trott and Bell have made the strongest case for inclusion, the former hitting 15 and 121 in the Bears' match against Notts while the latter was dismissed for 126 this morning after scoring just one run in the first innings.

Bopara's position appears most under threat, and with today's clash at Lord's petering out into a draw with the hosts at the crease the Essex man is unlikely to get the chance to add to the miserable one run he scored in the first innings. …

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Crunch Time for the Selectors as Ashes D-Day at the Oval Looms; There Are Headaches Ahead as Geoff Miller and Co Meet Today to Mull over the Squad for the Fifth Test. David Lloyd Reports
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