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  Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 15:16 GMT 16:16 UK
England hunt for bowling depth
Rod Marsh watches practice
Marsh will oversee the Academy in Adelaide

England will use their Academy to develop more bowling depth for the Test ranks.

Five specialist pace bowlers have been included in the 14-man group, who will spend the winter in Adelaide.

Spin all-rounders Gareth Batty and Ian Blackwell join them, as well as Northants left-armer Monty Panesar.


What we are trying to do is bridge the divide between first-class cricket and international cricket
Rod Marsh
But only three batsmen will make the trip, and the departure of Warwickshire pair Jim Troughton and Graham Wagg will be delayed because of injuries.

Academy director Rod Marsh admitted that the disparity was intentional.

"England are desperate to find some quality back-up in the spin-bowling department," he said.

"And you can never have too many fast bowlers."

"At the moment England are scoring more runs than they are taking wickets."

Marsh paid tribute to opening batsman Robert Key, an Academy graduate who made his debut against India but failed to gain a place in England's Ashes touring party.

"I think he was ready for his debut but I don't think mentally he was 100%," Marsh went on.

"If he had been chosen two months earlier, when he was on fire I have no doubt he would have got a century in one of those innings."

Age no barrier

The former Australia wicket-keeper endorsed the decision to leave another promising batsman, Ian Bell, at home.

Widely tipped to join the Test side this summer, the Warwickshire youngster had a poor season, partly due to a stress fracture in his back.

Ian Bell
Bell has struggled with a stress fracture in his back
"Bell is tired young man who needs a break," said Marsh.

"He has had four years on the go and that came through in his injuries and poor form this year.

"I fully expect him to come back and be a great batsman for England."

And Marsh defended the decision to ignore the age of players making the trip, with Leicestershire batsman Darren Stevens the oldest of the intake at 26.

"I'm not concerned about age-groups; I'm concerned about ability," he said.

"You have to remember that these guys are already first-class cricketers.

"What we are trying to do is bridge the divide between first-class cricket and international cricket, whereas in Australia they are making the bridge between youth level and first-class."

Work on a permanent home for the Academy is set to start next month, once a funding agreement on the 4m cost is signed between Sport England and Loughborough University.


England's Academy squad:
Kabir Ali (Worcs), J Anderson (Lancs), G Batty (Worcs), I Blackwell (Somerset), R Clarke (Surrey), K Hogg (Lancs), M Panesar (Northants), C Read (Notts), D Stevens (Leics), C Tremlett (Hampshire), J Troughton (Warwicks), A Tudor (Surrey), G Wagg (Warwicks), M Wallace (Glamorgan).

See also:

10 Sep 02 | England
20 Sep 02 | Warwickshire
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