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A Clean Break - Ted Corbett (Sporstar, Oct 9, 1993)

  England said farewell to  a  whole  generation  of  great  Test
cricketers  when its new captain, Mike Atherton, read out a squad
for the West Indies tour that did not include David Gower,  Allan
Lamb  and  Mike  Gatting,  who  have  all  performed heroic deeds
against the world champions in the past 15 years.
  "We felt if was time for a clean break," said Atherton, live on
radio  and  TV.  It  was  clear  long before the end of the Press
conference which followed  the  offical  announcement  that  this
squad  was  Atherton's with its emphasis on what he has been cal-
ling "young and spirited players."
  Gower declined to make a "knee-jerk"  reaction  but  said:   "A
betting  man  would  see  this as the end of my Test career and I
know that the longer I am out of the team the less likely I  will
be  able to make a comeback."  He may retire from all first-class
cricket and concentrate on a writing and TV career.
  It is one of the younget England parties to tour  West  Indies,
with  an  average  age of 26, with a captain of 25 and the oldest
player, vice captain Alec Stewart only 30.  That goes a long  way
to  explain  why  Gower  36  and no longer the darting, brilliant
fielder of yesteryear, Lamb still a dasher but 39, and Gatting, a
broadening,  static  36,  are not included with the likes of Mark
Ramprakash, graham Thorpe  and  Nasser  Hussain,  who  make  this
"perhaps  the finest fielding side ever to leave the shores," ac-
cording to manager Keith Fletcher.
  Atherton said he and Fletcher, who claimed with a  quiet  smile
that  "We  have got the team we wanted, all the way through," had
achieved all their objectives in the 17 players chosen.   England
by  the  way,  usually  take 16 to the Caribbean, but injuries to
Alan Igglesden, Robin Smith, Ian  Salisbury,  and  Devon  Malcolm
have  made  them  cautious  because, Fletcher says, "replacements
rarely achieve success on tour."
  Fletcher has more reason to feel pleased that the side  he  and
Atherton  put  together  at  a series of meetings since the final
Test, has been accepted by the England Committee which also  con-
sists of serveral Test and County Cricket Board officials.  After
disasters in India and Sri Lanka and  humiliation  in  the  Ashes
series he has now established a position in which every member of
the party has either come through the "A" team which he  ran  for
three years or is young enough to be influenced.
  Thus in a single selection he has finally thrown off the shadow
of  Graham Gooch, as well as the Gower-Lamb-Gatting axis.  One of
whom was widely tipped to find a place in the Caribbean.  In fact
Gooch,  who went on the India tour simply to back Fletcher on his
first winter in the England job, has also been  shown  the  door.
"Even  if he is in the West Indies and we have an injury problem,
we won't be calling up Graham,"  Fletcher said.  "I know  him  as
well  as  anyone  and  know how much batting he needs to get into
form.  He won't have played for six months and so he will be  out
of   touch,   great  player  though  he  is."   Fletcher's  voice
strengthened as he spoke with authority almost for the first time
in his 13 months as England manager.
  Atherton who has taken charge of England as if  he  had  always
expected  to be his country's captain-he has recently turned down
the leadership of Lancashire who are in turmoil-said he and  Alec
Stewart,  the  vice  captain  would  open the innings.  Hence the
choice of Jack Russell as a specialist wicket-keeper and No. 7 or
No. 8 batsman, the selection of Graeme Hick who will bat at No. 6
and the return of Chris Lewis who will be the fast  bowling  all-
  A batting line-up of Atherton, Stewart, Thorpe, Hussain or Ram-
prakash,  Hick, Lewis and Russell followed by Gus Fraser, Malcolm
and Steve Watkin, the bowling successes of the final Test  sounds
formidable.   "It's  going to be a tough tour, but I'm happy with
the side we can field and we set  off  confident,"  Atherton  de-
clared.   Preparation  consists  of  several weeklong sessions at
Lilleshall, the national training centre, a week in Portugal  and
10 days in Antigua before the main tour begins.

England's 17 to tour the West Indies:
                M   I  NO   HS  Runs   Avg Wkt  Runs  Best   Avg
M.A.Atherton   29  55   1  151  1927 35.68   1   282  1-60   282
A.J.Stewart    32  60   4  190  2083 37.19   -     -     -     -
A.R.Caddick     4   8   1   25   101 14.42   5   488  3-32 97.60
A.R.C.Fraser   12  16   1   29   129  8.60  55  1386  6-82 25.20
G.A.Hick       18  31   -  178   972 31.35  14   598 4-126 42.71
N.Hussain       7  13   2   71   284 25.81   -     -     -     -
A.P.Igglesden   1   1   1    2*    2     -   3   146  2-91 48.66
C.C.Lewis      20  31   1  117   771 25.70  52  2068 6-111 39.76
D.E.Malcom     25  37  13   15*  130  5.41  83  3084  6-77 37.15
M.P.Maynard     3   6   -   20    52  8.66   -     -     -     -
M.R.Ramprakash 10  17   1   64   311 19.43   -     8     -     -
R.C.Russell    31  49  10  128* 1060 27.17   -     -     -     -
I.D.K.Slisbury 4   7   -   50   136 19.42   8   536  3-49 67.00
R.A.Smith      45  84  14  148* 3237 46.24   -     6     -     -
G.P.Thorpe      3   6   1  114*  230 46.00   -    14     -     -
P.C.R.Tufnell  15  23  13   22*   56  5.60  50  1826  7-47 36.52
S.L.Watkin      3   5   -   13    25  5.00  11   305  4-65     -

 Contributed by Shash (sshah@*

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