Cow Corner

Miller time harps Dusty

Cow Corner

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When Mike Atherton asked Michael Vaughan whether he was happy with the team he was handed for the second Test in the aftermath of the Headingley debacle, there was an awkward 10 second silence.

Vaughan fidgeted, avoided eye contact and then became overly defensive before offering the response of 'it's not really the time to talk about these things'.

At least if Mrs Vaughan wanted to know whether Michael had been down the boozer for a couple of cheeky ones before coming home, she'd have no trouble in telling.

Now national selector Geoff Miller has sought an explanation after Vaughan latterly admitted England were unsettled by a "confused" selection before the ten wicket defeat.

Miller said: "The selectors are not here to make Michael's job harder, which is why I'd like him to clarify his comments. It's been made into a massive issue by the media and I want to hear his side of the story. This is professional sport. I'm the national selector, Michael is the captain - we're both in this together. We must make sure we're on an even keel." 

Not here to make Michael's job harder you say.

Then why pick a bloke who the captain has not even seen bowl in a first-class match or in outdoor nets because he only got the call the afternoon before the match.

Why not put him in the initial squad if he was going to be the natural replacement for Ryan Sidebottom - who was carrying a bad back at Lord's - rather than seemingly cobble the plan together in the Skyrack next to the ground on the Wednesday before the Test.

Why promote a bloke who many think is not good enough to bat at number seven to number six because four days earlier the attack couldn't bowl out the opponents on a featherbed.

As Vic Marks said in the Observer at the weekend the late call-up of 29-year-old Nottinghamshire seamer Darren Pattinson, who had made just 11 previous first-class appearances, by Miller maybe was an attempt to be noticed.

Pattinson was the first new cap since the current selection panel of Miller, James Whitaker and Ashley Giles took over.

As Marks mused: "Does he have pretensions to be another Uri Geller: to pluck from his flat, Derbyshire cap some gobsmacking magic in the form of the former roof tiler."

- - -

Certainly a pair of former England captains turned curmudgeons are not on Miller's side in their columns today.

Ian Botham led the chorus of condemnation: "The England team selection on Friday knocked me sideways. I feel very sorry for Darren Pattinson, but I don't have any sympathy for the selectors who lost all sense of perspective and embarrassed English cricket. It was the most illogical, pathetic and diabolical piece of selecting I've seen. I want to hear a proper explanation for this, as do the England cricket fans around the country."

Geoff Boycott wrote in the Daily Telegraph: "He bowled steadily and didn't let anyone down. It is not his fault that he is at the middle of this schemozzle. But this was one of the first big decisions taken by England's new selection panel, and they got it badly wrong. They need to admit their mistake and realise that wild hunches are no way to build an international cricket team."


TALKING POINT: So who was to blame - Miller and the selectors or Vaughan and the players.? Christopher Martin-Jenkins described Pattinson's selection as the most left-field in 99 years - so who did England pick in 1909?

COMING UP: County Championship action plus India v Sri Lanka in the first Test



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