| Duncan Fletcher prefers youngsters
Nottingham: England coach Duncan Fletcher ruled out a quick return for Graham Thorpe despite the team’s continuing mid-innings troubles.
Surrey left-hander Thorpe, 33, has been out of international action for a year because of personal problems but has said he is available again.
Thorpe is renowned as the one of the best middle-order batsmen in world cricket and especially adept at keeping an innings ticking over.
But without him England, 50 for one off nine overs, were restricted to 191 for eight on the way to a four-wicket defeat in their tri-series opener against Zimbabwe at Trent Bridge here on Thursday.
Both James Troughton (26 runs in three innings during England’s 2-1 one-day series win over Pakistan) and Robert Key, who made a sluggish 11 on his one-day International debut at Trent Bridge, have been tried in Thorpe’s number four spot.
However, despite their failures, Fletcher said he was ready to stand by the younger men following England’s middle-order slumps.
“It’s nice to have experience. But do you go back to picking the best players or do you prefer the young guys who you hope will be around in four years’ time at the World Cup,” Fletcher asked.
But he admitted his fledglings had “got to learn quickly”. He added: “You can’t excuse us for not making enough runs. We should have got to a minimum 220, 230.
“At this level you’ve got to utilise the 15th to 35th overs,” former Zimbabwe captain Fletcher added. “You’ve got to figure out ways to score in these overs. At the end of the day it’s all about ones and twos, risk management, the situation of the game and what shots are required.”