New chief selector buoyant but cautious about England's future January 18, 2008

England's slump is a hiccup - Miller

Cricinfo staff

Geoff Miller, England's newly appointed National Selector, has disagreed with the views of Nasser Hussain who last week accused England of going soft since winning the Ashes in 2005. Miller, who replaced David Graveney as the chief selector yesterday, welcomed Hussain's opinion but sees England's slump as a "hiccup".

"Nasser is entitled to his own views and I know what he is saying, but I don't think we have gone soft," Miller told SportingLife. "We have had a hiccup, I will accept that, and as soon as there is a hiccup there are going to be comments made about what the problems are.

"I understand Nasser and know him very well from our days at Essex so I will approach him about it and find out exactly what he means by that. I talk to experienced players and to umpires and all kinds of people who have some relevant views. That is one of my strong points - communication."

Miller was Graveney's apprentice for eight years, and reportedly had to be persuaded to take the new salaried position, since he already has a profitable career as an after-dinner speaker. And although England's record under Graveney included an Ashes win, the 5-0 trouncing they received in Australia and the disappointing loss in Sri Lanka in December leave Miller with a tall task to rebuild England's fortunes ahead of the next Ashes - in a little over a year.

"There have been contributing factors. We have had injuries, we have to accept that, and there has been a change of personnel," Miller said. "We are in a transitional period now in both kinds of cricket but the curve from 2000 has been pretty good.

"It has been an upward curve. We have taken a couple of backward steps but I don't see, with the experience and the quality we have in the side and the excitement of the youngsters we have got coming forward, why we can't get back on an even keel again."

"We have got to win matches and series to get some momentum back again. There is lots of excitement round the corner."