June 13, 2001

England need cool heads, says Graveney


England need players who can keep cool heads when victory is within their grasp, said chairman of selectors David Graveney.

Speaking after England had managed to pluck defeat from the jaws of victory against Pakistan at Lord's, Graveney said: "We need people who are cool, people who can finish matches.

"At Bristol we could have won but I think Australia had the match under control. We should definitely have won yesterday (against Pakistan). That's an area we should address."

The defeat was England's eighth one-day reverse in a row - a new record. But Graveney told the BBC that in order to prepare for the 2003 World Cup, it was better that England played against strong opposition than weaker teams.

"It would be very easy for us to play weaker opponents and pat ourselves on the back," he said.

"We are playing much stronger opposition. It's a bitter pill to swallow at the moment. We know where we have got to go."

At least there were crumbs of comfort for Graveney in the performance of centurion Marcus Trescothick and new boy Owais Shah who hit 62.

Graveney said: "Owais has come in similar to where Marcus came in last year.

"He (Shah) looked comfortable on the stage. He played well at Bristol and played well at Lord's."

Graveney did not restrict Shah's options by refusing to label him as only a one-day player for England.

"I see him as a talented international player. The instruction to Owais is to go out and enjoy the cricket which is what he is doing."