Eng prefer Jones to Read as gloveman for Ashes

Published: Sunday, November 12, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney:Geraint Jones has ousted Chris Read as England's preferred wicketkeeper for this month's opening Ashes cricket Test against Australia, coach Duncan Fletcher said.

Read, the Nottinghamshire gloveman, was left out of England's 14-man team for the latest three-day tour game against New South Wales here Sunday, giving Jones, the England keeper in last year's Ashes series, the inside running on the position.

Read was behind the stumps for England in the recent Champions' Trophy tournament in India, after being recalled to the Test side for the last two home Tests against Pakistan in August.

At stumps, NSW, after winning the toss, were 325 for five with Test opener-in-waiting Phil Jaques topscoring with 107, his second consecutive century against the tourists in three days.

England and NSW have agreed to play 14 players during the three-day match -- which will not have first-class status -- but only 11 players a side can bat.

Fletcher explained after Sunday's play why tour selectors were siding with Jones, who was dropped for Read after playing a Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's last May.

"We just think that he (Jones) handles the pressure better and technically we think he is a better batter out here on these wickets and particularly in Test match cricket," Fletcher told reporters.

"Those innings of Read's in the Champions' Trophy in India did influence us to some degree, we always felt he would be a better batter in one-day cricket and we took that into consideration.

"But there were also a few innings in England, he's had five knocks there in the one-dayers and the Test matches and we just believe, and it's a very difficult decision, that Jones will do a better job."

Fletcher also revealed that James Anderson was ahead of Sajid Mahmood for a paceman's spot in the Nov 23 first Test after Mahmood played no part in Sunday's play.

"We respect and speak highly of him (Mahmood) but we are concerned about his consistency," Fletcher said.

"And that's one thing when we go into that Test we believe that Jimmy Anderson is a more consistent bowler and we know what we can get out of Jimmy on a day-to-day basis, and that's what we are looking for at this stage."

Fletcher said both players have taken their demotions hard, but that he expected them to take the blow on the chin and keep themselves in the frame for a Test recall if need arose.

"Their mood is the same as any player you leave out of an England side, they take it pretty hard and in some ways it's nice to see that," Fletcher said.

"I would hate to speak to individuals who seem quite happy about being left out.

Fletcher said the choice between Monty Panesar and Ashley Giles for the spinner's role was a onerous decision.

"From the spin bowling point of view it's going to be a difficult decision and we are looking at playing two spinners in most of the Tests ...," he said.

"We have to give those two individuals as much bowling as possible, especially Ashley (Giles) who hasn't bowled for a year, just about, and it's crucial that he gets enough overs under his belt as well."


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