Rodney Marsh, the former England academy chief, has described the current set-up of the national side as a “shambles” and labelled selection policy as “crazy”.
Australia wicket-keeping great Marsh, who has now been appointed coaching director of the ICC Cricket Academy in Dubai, said team coach Duncan Fletcher had too much say in selection.
When in England, Marsh clashed with Fletcher over the coach’s preference for Geraint Jones as wicket-keeper instead of Chris Read. And he added that former Zimbabwe skipper Fletcher’s equally well-known bias in favour of left-arm spinner Ashley Giles over Monty Panesar, because of concerns over the latter’s batting, was also damaging England’s hopes of retaining the Ashes.
England’s squad for the tour of Australia was chosen by chairman of selectors David Graveney, Fletcher and third selector Geoff Miller, the former England off-spinner.
But once in Australia, where England are now battling to save the first Test in Brisbane, Fletcher and captain Andrew Flintoff are the sole selectors. “At present there is a crazy situation since it is obvious that the England selectors disagree fundamentally,” Marsh wrote in Britain’s Observer newspaper. “There are players chosen by those selectors who know that once they get on the plane they will be dropped.
“It hurts me to say this because I have worked with a lot of the guys involved for four years, but the England set-up looks a shambles at the moment. And they have played accordingly.”
Marsh is a staunch upholder of the belief that coaches should not be selectors because a player will be reluctant to let them help remedy problems if they know it could affect their chances of making it into the side.
And he was scathing about Fletcher’s public comment that Read lost his place because he does not bat as well as Jones and struggles under pressure. “Chris Read must be in a state of great confusion. His most recent Test scores were 38, 55 and 33, yet he has been jettisoned even though just about everyone agrees that he is the superior wicket keeper in the party.”
Just three months ago Fletcher hailed Panesar as “the best finger-spinner in the world” but that didn’t stop him opting for Giles instead come the first Test, even though the Warwickshire bowler, who featured in England’s 2005 Ashes triumph, had been out of international cricket for a year with a hip injury.
“Before he boarded the plane he (Panesar) was reckoned to be England’s best spinner. Once in Australia it was not long before Ashley Giles superseded him,” said Marsh who worked with Panesar at the Academy.
“You can never lose sight of the fact that you have to take 20 wickets to get anywhere in a Test series. That is what England did in 2005 — through their pace attack rather than Giles — and Panesar is more likely to take wickets. If you have to rely on your tail to make your runs, you are in trouble.”
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, November 27th, 2006 and is filed under General.
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