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Kirtley selected despite action concerns
CricInfo - 5 October 2001

England have shown their confidence in fast bowler James Kirtley by naming an unchanged squad for tomorrow's second one-day international against Zimbabwe.

The match referee for the first game at Harare on Wednesday, Colonel Naushad Ali, voiced concerns about his action following England's five-wicket win.

But after keep a close eye on Kirtley since Wednesday, including an extended practice session in Harare today, the England management are confident he will be able to handle scrutiny in the first of two back-to-back matches tomorrow.

The England coach Duncan Fletcher said: "As far as I'm concerned he's in fine fettle. It was nice of him to come out yesterday and see the guys finish off their golf when he wasn't playing and join the team - that was very good to see.

"He bowled very well this morning, and I haven't seen anything wrong in his attitude - he still seems pretty upbeat. His action is fine as far as I'm concerned; he's been passed by the ECB and he's got a very good chance of playing tomorrow.

"He's got the full backing of the side. As far as they are concerned all this is just water off a duck's back, and the important thing is to go out there and make sure we beat Zimbabwe and go 2-0 up."

Fletcher will consult with Kirtley shortly before England name their starting line-up tomorrow, as well as giving him advice before sending him out for a trial by television with Colonel Ali scrutinising his action.

"We'll be telling him to just go out there and bowl," said Fletcher.

"There's no point thinking about things because if people let problems worry them there's a chance they may go out there and not perform well.

"We were very pleased with Wednesday's result after losing 11 on the trot, and to win that match was very important to us. But then something like this happens, and we have supported him.

"It's taken a bit of the gloss off the win. But we know what we've got to do, and that's what's important - we know what the squad's got to do to become a very good one-day international side."

For Zimbabwe, desperately seeking to halt a run of eight successive defeats, captain Heath Streak returns after his back injury in place of Doug Hondo.

"Heath coming back is certainly a boost because he's been the mainstay of our bowling attack for the last six or seven years," said senior batsman and wicketkeeper Andy Flower.

"He wasn't at his best against South Africa. But I caught a few balls from him this morning, and he looks to be bowling all right.

"He has that brisk away swinger going, and I hope he'll create some trouble for England."

England squad: N Hussain (Essex, capt), ME Trescothick (Somerset), NV Knight (Warwickshire), MR Ramprakash (Surrey), GP Thorpe (Surrey), A Flintoff (Lancashire), BC Hollioake (Surrey), JN Snape (Gloucestershire), JS Foster (Essex, wkt), RJ Kirtley (Sussex), MJ Hoggard (Yorkshire), AP Grayson (Essex).

Zimbabwe: HH Streak (capt), A Flower (wkt), GB Brent, ADR Campbell, SV Carlisle, D Ebrahim, GW Flower, GJ Whittall, ML Nkala, DP Viljoen, CB Wishart.

Umpires: K Barber and M Esat

3rd Umpire: C Nyizika.

Match referee: N Ali (Pak).

© CricInfo Ltd.

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