'Marsh's comments were a shame' December 14, 2006

Parsons defends England's performance

Cricinfo staff

"It's sad that Rod Marsh feels it is right to make that sort of comment" © Getty Images

David Parsons, the acting director of the ECB's Academy, has expressed his disappointment at Rod Marsh's comments that England have gone backwards since winning the Ashes last year. Marsh was critical of Duncan Fletcher and said England had done themselves a huge disservice by losing their bowling coach Troy Cooley.

"We've had two disappointing results here in Australia, but I don't agree that our Test standards are slipping fast," Parsons told The Guardian. "When I read those comments, I thought it was a shame. Rod did a really good job when he was in charge and he got the academy up and running. It's just sad that someone who has been so heavily involved in the programme feels that it is right to make that sort of comment."

Parsons also defended the decision to have the academy side based in Perth during the Ashes, despite the fact they have played only two one-day matches - both ending in defeat - and have one remaining game before their stay in Australia ends. He described the policy as "a risk worth taking".

"Given the injuries that England had last time, it was important to know someone was on stand-by if something was to go wrong," Parsons said in the Daily Telegraph. "The other side of it is that you get the advantage of being out here in the sunshine on some really good pitches. Even if none of the players get the call-up they will still have benefited from being out here in the middle."

Parsons mentioned Ravi Bopara, Steven Davies, Stuart Broad, Chris Tremlett and Graham Onions as players who could help form the next generation of England cricket and who would take the most from the trip.