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Monday, 21 February, 2000, 16:34 GMT
Fletcher's whitewash dilemma

Players like Caddick are running on empty

BBC News Online's Thrasy Petropoulos reports from Zimbabwe.

After the many disappointments of the South Africa tour, England coach Duncan Fletcher is encountering a very different problem in Zimbabwe.

You have a look at top sides ... Do they ever change winning sides?
Duncan Fletcher
With England completing a series-winning margin in the limited-overs series, Fletcher - together with skipper Nasser Hussain - must now decide whether to protect his tiring bowlers in the final game on Wednesday or do the un-English thing of going for the throat and a 4-0 whitewash.

Darren Gough and Andrew Caddick, whose workload since the start of the Test series has been greater than any other players, have been running on empty for most of the Zimbabwe leg of the tour.

Hussain has already expressed his concern that both are at their most vulnerable to breaking down, but on the field they remain his most likely source of wickets.

"It is very difficult to pick any side," said Fletcher.

"But at the end of the day you just have to look at the situation and say that you have a job to do and think what the best way to do it most efficiently is.

Duncan Fletcher and Nasser Hussain Fletcher: "We must be given credit that we won"
"You have a look at top sides around the world, like Australia who have just won ten in a row. Do they ever change winning sides?

Whatever the result in the final match, Fletcher will be able to point to England's first one-day series win for three years and nine tournaments.

Ever the realist, however, he is under no false illusions about what could have been a very different scoreline.

"That second win I don't think was that satisfying," he said.

"But at the end of the day we must be given credit that we won.

"There are situations where you play those games, lose them and say you played badly. At least we played badly and won, which is quite important I think.

"The first one was obviously very good and the third was a very professional performance, right from the word go."

Not even his ever-optimistic predecessor, David Lloyd, would have got himself over-excited about a series win against a struggling Zimbabwe side.

But it is a start, just as it was for Adam Hollioake in his first stab at national captaincy in Sharjah in December 1997 when England last won a one-day series.

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See also:
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Hick's victory six
Links to other England on Tour stories are at the foot of the page.