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Shah should replace Bell - Fraser

By Kevin Hand
BBC London 94.9

Owais Shah
Owais Shah last appeared for the England Test side in May 2007

Former England bowler Angus Fraser says Owais Shah should replace Ian Bell for the second Test against West Indies.

Shah, 30, has only made two previous appearances but Fraser says a change is needed ahead of Friday's second Test.

Fraser told BBC London 94.9: "He hasn't done a great deal wrong since he played that wonderful innings in Mumbai (making 88 on his Test debut).

"Even in one-day cricket he's performed and I think he deserved to play ahead of Ian Bell in the last Test."

He added: "I think they've got to make one change but I'd only make one change. You're constantly looking at statistics and some of them might smugly say: 'I average over 40, what's the problem?'

Shah seems to have held himself together on those [one-day] occasions but he did admit to being nervous in the second of the two Test matches that he's played in

Middlesex director Angus Fraser

"But they used to average 44 to 45 and in the last 18 months or so they've been averaging 35 and that is certainly the case for Ian Bell now."

England were bowled out for 51 in their second innings in Jamaica to lose the first Test by an innings and 23 runs.

Warwickshire's Bell made 28 and four in the match but Fraser, who is now managing director of cricket at Middlesex, says the time has come for Shah should be given the chance to add to his two Test caps.

"In one-day cricket at times you're emotions are heightened because of the frantic nature of the game," Fraser said. "And he [Shah] seems to have held himself together on those occasions but he did admit to being nervous in the second of the two Test matches that he's played in.

"On his debut in Mumbai, when he scored 88 and batted beautifully, he was almost just thrown in and got on with it, but then he had to wait some time for that second test chance at Lords and he said that nerves got the better of him.

"So I hope that they [nerves] don't come along and that we can see him play freely and that he realises that he's going to get a run in the side now rather than just fitting in which is what he did back at Lord's on that occasion."

I think a problem in sport in general is the fact that so many players, in any sport you go to, are pampered in so many ways that they don't really know what to do when a tough situation comes along

Angus Fraser

Fraser, 43, has only recently taken up his role with Middlesex but played alongside England captain Andrew Strauss for the county and he believes the left-hander is the right man for the job and should be fully backed.

"I get a bit disappointed by some of the comments [that] England need some leadership. I think Andrew has tried to give that leadership," he said.

"Obviously it's undermined by the fact that they were bowled out for 51, but it's almost relating to the fact that there's not a manager there or a head coach.

"It's a difficult one, I suppose at this moment in time he could do with a bit of support, someone to shout and talk in the same manner as him and sort of describe what they want in the same way but Andy Flower is doing that, he's head coach in all but name.

"I agree that you do want your players to take on greater responsibility, you want to empower them really.

"I think a problem in sport in general is the fact that so many players, in any sport you go to, are pampered in so many ways that they don't really know what to do when a tough situation comes along and that's when you've got to rely on your instinct to some extent."



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see also
Collingwood eyes England recovery
11 Feb 09 |  England
Flintoff backs England character
10 Feb 09 |  England
Middlesex chase two new players
04 Feb 09 |  Middlesex
Fraser hopeful of first signing
21 Jan 09 |  Middlesex
Fraser begins work at Middlesex
21 Jan 09 |  Middlesex


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