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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 February, 2005, 01:57 GMT
Ashes posers for England selectors
Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan's men have five months to prepare for the Ashes
England and Australia do not start their battle for the Ashes until 21 July, but there are several key questions England's Test selectors need to resolve before then.

Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live's Sport on Five programme, former England stars Dominic Cork and Phil Tufnell gave their answers.


If Kevin Pietersen plays, who misses out?

Phil Tufnell
Do you move Vaughan up to three and slot Pietersen in at five? That's the dilemma the selectors will have.

Dominic Cork
Rob Key has got a lot of talent but I don't think he shone in South Africa once Mark Butcher went home.

I would put Vaughan at three, Thorpe at four, followed by Pietersen and Flintoff.

I'd say, "Look Butch, get yourself fit and if something goes wrong you're straight back in."


Is it time for Graham Thorpe to make way?

Phil Tufnell
Graham will see this as a last chance for him.

There is a blend to a batting line-up - you can't just have biffers.

Having Thorpe knits the innings together and gives Pietersen and Flintoff a platform to launch off.

Dominic Cork
Thorpe performed well in South Africa with a crucial century.

He's gritty - perhaps not the most stylish - but he's the type of person you need against the Aussies.


Will Steve Harmison rediscover his form in time?

Phil Tufnell
Form is very difficult. He's a bit of a special case and this is where the England backroom staff have to really earn their money and get the best out of Harmison.

Troy Cooley, the bowling coach, and Duncan Fletcher, should know what makes him tick, and what made him the world's best bowler.

Dominic Cork
Definitely. South Africa was a long, long tour and he probably got a bit homesick and things didn't go well.

But he's a good bowler - we need to get behind him.


Does Simon Jones still have a part to play?

Phil Tufnell
I like Jones. He's got genuine pace and against the Aussies on good wickets there isn't much room for the good old English seamer.

He also has the ability to reverse-swing the ball, which is something up the sleeve for the second innings.

Dominic Cork
Since the injury in Brisbane he hasn't fired as we thought he could. He's had a lot of uncertainty - both with Glamorgan and the Test team.

I would give him a go but I'd look at other people for different conditions. Martin Saggers [a swing bowler] could come back in if we go for horses for courses.


Geraint Jones or Chris Read as wicket-keeper?

Phil Tufnell
Wicket-keepers have got to be able to score Test match hundreds - it's as simple as that.

Chris Read is a very able keeper - and a good batsman - but he doesn't quite give off the aura behind the stumps that you need. Geraint gives a little more of that to the side.

Dominic Cork
I'd go with Jones. He's made some important runs at seven and eight. Chris Read was given a go and didn't press home what we need.

We have won a series with Geraint Jones behind the stumps. Why change it?






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