Wed, Feb 11, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Boycott slams England side

AFP , LONDON AND KINGSTON, JAMAICA

England great Geoffrey Boycott has slammed the current side for “spinelessly” collapsing during their innings-and-23-run first Test defeat against the West Indies in Jamaica.

He also accused England’s backroom staff of “virtually wiping the players bottoms for them,” adding their presence inhibited team members from thinking for themselves.

England were bowled out for just 51 — their third lowest innings total of all-time — at Sabina Park on Saturday and former Yorkshire opener Boycott said too many players had enjoyed an extended run in the side that was not justified by their form.

“Look at the players who capitulated so spinelessly at Sabina Park and you will see that almost all of them appeared in Peter Moores’s first series as coach back in 2007,” Boycott wrote in his column in Monday’s Daily Telegraph.

BACKSIDES KICKED

“I have nothing against continuity if a team are winning,” he wrote. “But haven’t England been getting their backsides kicked around the world for the past two years? Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff are still great players who would get into any side on the plant. But what about the rest of this sorry lot?”

Boycott added that an extensive backroom staff was preventing players from taking responsibility for their performances — the mantra of new England captain Andrew Strauss.

“These lads just have it too easy,” Boycott said. “There is no motivation to improve when they have more than a dozen backroom staff to analyze their techniques, put out the cones at training, and virtually wipe their bottoms for them.”

The second Test of the four-match series begins on Friday in Antigua, and West Indies have decided to strengthen their batting reserves. They are not taking any chances with their batting and have brought Lendl Simmons and Ryan Hinds into their 14-member squad.

Making way are out-of-form batsman Xavier Marshall and off-spin bowler Amit Jaggernauth in the squad that was chosen for the first Test, with the injury to uncapped opener Dale Richards taking him out of consideration for selection.

Marshall’s place in the side was tenuous at best and a two-ball duck in front of his home crowd did not help him, while Jaggernauth did not play in the Test and returned home to play in the first-class competition over the weekend.

Simmons is the nephew of the former West Indies all-rounder and Zimbabwe coach Phil Simmons, and is no stranger to the English visitors.

They will remember him for a long time following his first-class career-best 282 in their second tour match in St Kitts just prior to the opening Test.

Simmons is also a useful slow-medium pace bowler and can also keep wicket, which he did effectively for West Indies a few years ago in one of the eight One-day Internationals he has played.

Hinds has been rewarded for a strong start to the West Indies first-class championship which is being contested simultaneously for the first time with the international series.

He leads the batting aggregates with 585 runs, including a career-best 240 against Leeward Islands, and 134 against Guyana over the weekend for his native Barbados for a healthy average of 83.57.

■AUSTRALIA V NEW ZEALAND

STAFF WRITER

Australia beat New Zealand by 6 wickets in Adelaide yesterday to level their 5-match one-day international series at 2-2.

Batting first, the Black Caps made 244 for 8 from their alloted 50 overs with Ross Taylor cracking 76 off 71 balls after Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill put on 69 for the first wicket. Mitchell Johnson took 3 for 51 for Australia and James Hopes 2 for 37.

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