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19 July 1997
Bevan's under threat
THE Aussies have some serious thinking to do about the role of Michael Bevan before Thursday's Fourth Test at Headingley.
It's hard for me to say one way or the other whether he should be dropped because he is another of the touring party who is a team-mate at New South Wales.
I know a few people find it hard to relate to Michael and I hear this was the case during his time at Rawtenstall.
He's an introvert - that's for sure.
But he's also a great guy when you really get to know him.
I started playing grade cricket with him when I was 16 and he sings in our band.
Bev is very serious about a lot of things including his fitness but he has also calmed down a lot since he married his English wife Tracey.
We certainly don't see as many 'Bev Attacks' as we used to, when the dressing room cleared after his dismissal.
At the moment he is playing as the fifth bowler in Tests, but if you are batting at six you are expected to score runs.
I do not think he has that much of a problem with the short ball, as some critics suggest.
But he hasn't been taking wickets.
If you were to take these facts at face value, Michael doesn't warrant selection for Headingley.
In that case, I would bring in Michael Slater to open, drop Matthew Elliot to number three and Greg Blewett to six.
But Slates - who should not have been dropped in the first place - only made 26 in the first innings against Glamorgan when Ricky Ponting scored a ton and he may well get the nod.
In any case, the Aussies are starting to hit the straps, as we say, and I'm backing them from here on in.
England's best chance is to prepare a real seamer like at Edgbaston.
It was nice from my point of view to get back on a good hard wicket at Scarborough when I played for the Presidents XI against Yorkshire.
I chased a wide one on 14 but Ramsbottom's Chris Harris bowled really well to take four wickets.
He faces East Lancs tomorrow who will be keen to return to winning ways after losing at my club Enfield on Sunday.
East Lancs were upset about having to go back on after a downpour but the wicket was perfect and the outfield was no different to some games at the start of the season.
We successfully chased a reduced target but I would have backed us to chase their initial target of 159.
Obviously sides batting second are at a definite advantage in those circumstances.
But the same thing happened to us against Rawtenstall earlier in the season and the fact East Lancs are in contention for the title was not really relevant.
IN ASSOCIATION WITH EW CARTONS
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Graeme Smith was the last of South Africa's old guard. The roots of the new one need to grow deeper