Fletcher owns up to team se­lec­tion blun­ders

Townsville Bulletin - - Cricket -

ENG­LAND coach Dun­can Fletcher ad­mits he made mis­takes at the se­lec­tion ta­ble this Ashes se­ries but de­nies the tourists’ spirit has de­serted them.

Af­ter four har­row­ing Test de­feats to Aus­tralia and a string of de­ci­sion-mak­ing blun­ders, Fletcher ad­mit­ted he and cap­tain Andrew Flintoff had erred when pick­ing Eng­land sides in their roles as the tour se­lec­tors.

Al­though he would not ad- mit to any spe­cific se­lec­tion calls, the ma­jor se­lec­tions Eng­land came un­der fire for this se­ries were over­look­ing spin­ner Monty Pane­sar for the first two Tests and wick­et­keeper Chris Read for the first three.

The folly of favour­ing Ash­ley Giles over Pane­sar was shown in Perth, where Pane­sar took eight wick­ets.

Read im­pressed with the gloves and made 26 not out in the sec­ond in­nings in M e l b o u r n e w h e n h e re­placed Geraint Jones, who failed with the bat in the first three Tests.

‘‘We’ve made some mis­takes and we will re­flect on it when we get back af­ter the tour, like we do any other se­ries,’’ Fletcher said.

Fletcher in­sisted the spirit in the team re­mained strong de­spite be­ing beaten by an in­nings and 99 runs at the MCG.

He ad­mit­ted Eng­land had let their le­gion of fans down this sum­mer by los­ing all the Tests but said it was un­fair to ac­cuse the play­ers of not giv­ing their best.

‘‘You go into the change room and see how de­spon­dent they were (af­ter the fourth Test de­feat),’’ he said.

‘‘If they weren’t try­ing then I’d say they’ve let us down but they’re try­ing their damn­d­est.’’

On the pain scale, Eng­land are still short of their worst loss in re­cent times as Fletcher said he had ex­pe­ri­enced worse de­feats than Aus­tralia’s three-day ham­mer­ing in Melbourne.

He nom­i­nated the loss to South Africa by an in­nings and 92 runs at Lord’s in 2003, i n wha t wa s Mi c h a e l Vaughan’s first Test as cap­tain, as the worst de­feat of his coach­ing ca­reer.

But Fletcher was still con­fi­dent Eng­land could lift for the fifth Test in Syd­ney, as the tourists did four years ago when they won at the SCG to pre­vent a se­ries white­wash.

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