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Swapping captains in mid-season is not the Middlesex way, but England's good fortune in promoting Andrew Strauss ahead of schedule has been his county's rotten luck, with Ed Joyce thrust into the front line when Owais Shah's stewardship was deemed
July 15, 2004
Swapping captains in mid-season is not the Middlesex way, but England's good fortune in promoting Andrew Strauss ahead of schedule has been his county's rotten luck, with Ed Joyce thrust into the front line when Owais Shah's stewardship was deemed lacking.
Trusting the Michael Vaughan theory, it was anticipated that Shah, as an ex-England Under-19 skipper, would make a decent fist of it, that the responsibility, moreover, would benefit a batsman prone to short-changing his gifts. To his credit there were a string of unusually splendid one-day displays but the debits weighed heavier.
Concentration lapses at the crease and a habit of making decisions from long-on, exacerbated by uninspiring body language and unfathomable tactics only partly explained by a largely unfit seam battery - Mark Alleyne was baffled by his scant use of spin on a Gloucester turner - made upheaval inevitable. Not that he was helped by a cliquey dressing-room. Against Worcestershire the change in mood under the uniformly respected Joyce was soon apparent: that season-high 508 did not feel coincidental. That it included Joyce's soberest knock of the term substantiated the impression that, once he qualifies for England next spring, Graham Thorpe's boots should fit rather snugly. For Shah, a long, dispassionate look in the mirror seems imperative.
Moment of the month Paul Weekes making runs for fun
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