Butcher makes most of injury opportunity

CricInfo

August 21, 2001

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England's chairman of selectors, David Graveney, has admitted that Headingley hero Mark Butcher would probably not have played in the npower Ashes series if England's first choice players had been fit.

"If there had not been so many injuries, he wouldn't have played," conceded Graveney. "But we had a good idea of his form because there are so many Surrey lads in the squad and overall he has been our most consistent player this summer.

"The pressure in the last innings of a Test match is awesome and you can assess the magnitude of the achievement by the fact that we have only reached a target like that twice."

But Graveney, talking to the BBC, supported the comments of Lord MacLaurin, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who said yesterday that a lot of work remains to be done before England are able to realistically expect to beat Australia.

"You can say that we have been unlucky in one or two respects but we are playing against the finest side in the world and we have been found wanting," MacLaurin told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"One or two players have been injured but that does not disguise the fact that we have to look at our game in this country right from grassroots through to the county level and make it much more professional."

"It just shows how quickly things can change in sport, in this case in a matter of hours," said Graveney. But he reiterated the view that no-one should get carried away with the Leeds win, or let it disguise the disappointing result for England from the series as a whole.

"If we are being honest, our performances have not been good enough and even on the first day of this Test, our bowling was probably the worst it has been all season."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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