The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fletcher ruining county: Boycott

London: Geoffrey Boycott has branded England coach Duncan Fletcher “invisible” while accusing him of “destroying County cricket” and in the process damaging the national side.

“The biggest problem with England coach Duncan Fletcher... is that he is wrapping men such as James Anderson in cotton wool and destroying County cricket,” wrote former England opener Boycott in Monday’s edition of The Daily Telegraph.

Boycott, 62, is currently recovering from throat cancer that has halted his successful broadcasting career.

“People make the point that everything is dependent on Test cricket. Of course it is, but by resting England’s players too much you’re going to get lesser players emerging,” he said.

Fletcher has repeatedly insisted that, because of the increasing amount of international cricket, England first-choice players such as 21-year-old quick Anderson must miss County fixtures in order to be fresh for the showpiece games.

“I understand that — I’m not stupid — but actually resting them all the time leaves them short of cricket,” Boycott said.

Boycott insisted former Zimbabwe captain Fletcher’s reasoning was flawed, especially when it came to handling inexperienced players such as Anderson.

“The argument on resting doesn’t work. Take Anderson of Lancashire. He has been rested between Tests because he is a kid,” Boycott said. “Great seam bowlers such as (Fred) Trueman, (Brian) Statham and (Sir Alec) Bedser didn’t rest — they bowled themselves into form and fitness.

“Anderson is a promising talent,” said Boycott before adding: “In two Tests against South Africa he bowled rubbish, unable to land the ball in the same spot.

“He has had no experience to fall back on because he has only had 500 overs in his life.

“Freddie Trueman would have bowled 500 overs by the end of June each season.”

Boycott said he had “no personal animosity” towards Fletcher but insisted, “I have feelings about what he’s doing to the game and about the fact that he’s being allowed to do it by the England and Wales Cricket Board.

“He has all the power he wants and yet he is almost invisible.” (AFP)

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