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ARTICLE: Tourists return home with ... (S.Hughes) - 28 Feb 1995

Tourists return home with winning habit

Simon Hughes looks back over a triumphant tour and offers an  in-
dividual player-by-player assesment.

NINE weeks ago the England A tour party arrived  in  India  rela-
tively  green  and vulnerable. Only two had ever been to the sub-
continent before. Emerging from the chrysalis this morning  on  a
flight  from  Dhaka will be 15 tanned, maturing players with new-
found versatility and the prime ingredient required for any  suc-
cessful sportsman - the winning habit.

The Management deserve much of the credit for  this  with  shrewd
planning,  decent  man-management  and  positive attitudes.  John
Barclay  has  demonstrated how valuable it is to have an  empathy
with the  country you are in - he was still smiling even when the
engine  of  the team bus  briefly caught fire yesterday - and the 
physio  Wayne  Morton has injected energy into every net session,
fielding  practice  and social event. He monitored meals and kit-
chens  and  only one player,  Mark Ilott, picked up a significant 
injury or illness.

The major objective of A tours should be to hone  the  skills  of
aspiring  players  in preparation for the Test arena, and in this
context the 1995 Asian trip may prove to  be  the  most  valuable
yet.   Apart  from  Mark  Ramprakash`s  obvious credentials, Glen
Chapple and Richard Stemp will lay claim  to full  honours   this
summer  with  Jason  Gallian not far behind.  Nick Knight and Min
Patel  would  let no-one down at the  top level and Keith Piper`s
wicketkeeping is on a par with anyone in the world.

The most striking aspect of this  party  was  its  spirit,  while
there  were  no weak links in the fielding which was consistently
excellent; hardly a catch went down all tour.

This coupled with determined batting  and  steady,  whole-hearted
bowling  was why they lost only one match out of 12 and that only
narrowly. No wonder they managed to blow  #700 at  last   night`s
celebration  party, before plunging en masse into the hotel swim-
ming pool.

Player-by-player assessment

ALAN WELLS (Capt): A hard, aggressive captain, a  touch  stubborn
sometimes  but  the  Indian  experience  will  have increased his
range. Set a good example as a batsman and still has  aspirations
for Test cricket, though these are probably just wishful thinking
despite his versatility. An outsider for the World Cup for he  is
a  good improviser and competent against any bowling. Age and the
wealth of competition may count against him.

MARK RAMPRAKASH: An inspired choice as vice-captain. Revelled  in
responsibility    and  obviously  enjoyed  being  looked  up  to.
Technically  the  most complete batsman in  England;  temperament
occasionally  let  him down, but his angry spark is now harder to
ignite. Exudes a cool arrogance on the field.

NICK KNIGHT: Originally a surprising choice but has  learnt  fast
and made significant steps. Sets out to bat a long time and accu-
mulates rather than dominates. Ambitious, thoughtful and a  bril-
liant  fielder,  particularly  at  silly point where he unsettles
batsmen with agility and relentless clapping.

JASON GALLIAN: Most people`s player of the tour.  Always  willing
and  able  and  has  made rapid advances from limited beginnings.
Adapted technique to  negotiate  Indian  spinners and   umpiring;
later   used   his  feet to become more forceful.  Well organised
defence,  plays  very straight. Australian-style seam bowler  and
socialiser, he seems to enjoy himself in any role.

MICHAEL VAUGHAN: A rather rigid player who never  quite  came  to
terms  with  the  slower  bowling  and  conditions, getting out a
number of times playing across the line. Was never disheartened.

DAVID HEMP: Clean, classy striker of the ball,  sometimes  a  bit
too  free  for  the comfort of the next man in. Still has nothing
much in between the block and the big shot. Beneath a benign  ap-
pearance  is  a  fierce desire and an almost unintelligible Welsh

PAUL WEEKES: Continually suffers from lack of opportunity and  is
therefore  hard  to  assess.  Made a contribution in almost every
match, chipping in with useful runs  and  crucial wickets  or   a
brilliant  catch.   Possibly not selfish enough to develop into a
Test player and his bowling lacks real consistency. Survives  al-
most exclusively on hard-boiled eggs.

PAUL NIXON: Scored thousands of runs in  the  nets  but  couldn`t
quite  manage  it in the middle. Kept wicket adequately and ener-
getically without quite being "top drawer", his favourite phrase.
Could not be faulted for enthusiasm in his roles as wicketkeeper,
chief cheerleader and chairman of the fines committee.

DOMINIC CORK: A batting average of 16 and 27 wickets at 20 apiece
conveys  most  of the picture. Can`t quite establish himself as a
genuine all-rounder, but has the knack of  taking wickets,   wob-
bling  the  new  ball  and probing batsmen`s weaknesses expertly.
Test match outsider.

KEITH PIPER: Rated by Alan Knott as the best young keeper in Eng-
land, with some justification. Natural and unfussy standing up to
the stumps, neat and assured standing back. Gives bowlers   added
encouragement with cries of "come on, let`s bubble". Lacks confi-
dence with the bat.

GLEN CHAPPLE: Consistent in everything from bowling outswing to a
daily  application of lemon juice on his ginger hair. An old head
on young shoulders - seems to know his game inherently he adjust-
ed  his  method  to  suit the conditions. Delivers lively natural
outswing with rare accuracy while not afraid to experiment.  Big-
hearted  and  a  capable  batsman with an immense straight drive.
Should appear for England this summer.

IAN SALISBURY: Suffering from a partial  lack  of  confidence,  a
dicky   shoulder  and  perpetual  comparisons  with  Shane Warne.
Still tends to bowl one short ball an over  and  has  slowed  his
run-up,  ` la  Warne, which hasn`t helped. Can be unplayable, but
at the moment is an expensive luxury. Fine slip fielder.

RICHARD JOHNSON: A  short-of-a-length  seam  bowler  not  ideally
suited  to Indian conditions. Has learnt a lot about himself, and
can only improve when he returns to greener pastures. Should make
more runs with an unflappable temperament and simple approach.

RICHARD STEMP: Has better control of his bowling  than  he  some-
times does of his temper which can make the captain`s job invidi-
ous. Has a fluent, wheeling action, dangerous  loop and   probing
accuracy,  but  still  over-reacts  to bad umpiring or inflexible
leadership. Test class spinner, good athlete  but needs   careful

MIN PATEL: Provides the tease to compliment  Stemp`s  torment.  A
very  phlegmatic spinner, he gets on with the job and is adept at
operating over the wicket into the rough and gets spin but negli-
gible  bounce.  He is a good competitor and stealthy fielder with
an exceptional arm.  If  Michael  Atherton  cannot handle   other
spinners` fits of pique, Patel would be a reliable alternative.

Source :: The Electronic Telegraph (
 Contributed by Rahul.Chandran (phaedrus@*

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