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Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 14:07 GMT
Should Key win Test call?
Robert Key showed fine form against Australia A in Hobart
Robert Key ends England's second day against Australia A 174 not out to stake his claim for a Test place.

Has Key done enough to prove his worth?


England's fightback to force a draw against Australia's impressive second side was spurred by Robert Key's fine display with the bat.

England had begun the day 74 runs adrift. Key, with John Crawley, added 75 runs in the morning session.

Crawley failed to return after tea after suffering a minor injury, and Key went on to get his first century for England, and eclipsed his previous best first class score of 160.

Has Key done enough to win a Test place?


This debate is now closed. A selection of your e-mails appear below.

Why are England always so nervous of inexperience? Key should play and Harmison should play. If they're good enough to be selected for a tour, they're good enough to play. Even if they don't come off we can't do any worse than we are!
Matt, UK

What is the point of Rob Key playing the warm-up games and scoring shed loads of runs if he is not going to be picked fot the Test side? He's young, in-form and doesn't treat the Aussies with far too much respect like every English player on the tour.

Get the out of form and overrated White out of the side and get Key in to bolster the batting ranks, and use Butcher as a regular bowler who is just as capable as White with the ball.
Dan Scudder, Kent


The man is in good form, he is young and seems keen, he scores his runs quickly - he will obviously not be selected
Mike, England

Australia seem to do alright picking three quicks & a spinner. On the other hand, the England policy of seeking "balance" by including an all-rounder has yielded absolutely nothing in terms of performance or results. Key must play.

If the selectors have to pick an all-rounder, leave Vaughan out. He is low on form and confidence and England do not need another "McGrath bunny" in the top order.
Peter Honeyman, Australia

The man is in good form; he is young and seems keen. He scores his runs quickly, which everyone agrees is the Aussies forte. He will obviously not be selected - stupid, but likely.
Mike, England

I watched Key bat all day Saturday & Sunday. Key had technique & fight. Therefore he should play at the expense of the all-rounder spot. England's bowlers have got to stand up and do what they're paid to do without the comfort blanket of an all-rounder to help out. The worst that could happen is England get a draw, better than a flogging like at Brisbane.

Australia play six batsmen and average almost 400 runs an innings. I am sure their four bowlers are more than happy to bowl to attacking fields knowing they have always got 400 runs to play with.
John Yeomans, Australia

Why the debate? England XI 79 v Robert Key 174. He gets my vote!! Drop White and let's get some runs on the board.
Ed Griffiths, England


England must be the only country in the world that would even ask this question!
Jason , Australia

For Pete's sake don't omit Key from the second Test side! On current form, Key could prolong England's defeat in the second Test by at least a session!
Adrian, Australia

Strewth! What's a bloke gotta do to get into the Pommie team? Underperform? This bloke ruined my Sunday afternoon and all power to him! Good business is all to do with recognising opportunities and this one could be a fantastic long-term investment. He should play in Adelaide, more importantly he should play in Australia during the English off season.
Anon, UK

England must be the only country in the world that would even ask this question! Of course Key should play! He should be the first picked. The others have repeatedly shown that they are simply not up to it.

How many times do they have to try and fail before England realise that they are simply not good enough to compete with Australia?
Ross Gilham, Australia

Will it make any difference?
Jason , Australia

Robert Key deserves a crack. He has been in good nick all tour and should get the nod ahead of White. It will give much-needed depth to the batting. Tudor should also play. He has a good record against the Aussies and has a big heart, unlike Caddick.
Tim, Ireland


It should be Butcher who makes way
GW, India
Way back in October, I e-mailed this column, criticising the selection of Robert Key as Thorpe's replacement. I am very glad to have been proved wrong. His performances and attitude on tour so far have been excellent.

After Brisbane, there is no way we can leave out a player who has just scored 174. White is not firing, and Flintoff's fitness is still in doubt. As some of your other contributors have suggested, the best approach seems to be seven batsmen and four bowlers, with Butcher and Vaughan also taking a turn with the ball.

Let's just hope all our main bowlers avoid injury during the match.
Roy Pinney, England

Robert Key has experience of Australian conditions in Perth and Adelaide, he should be congratulated for doing the groundwork prior to this tour. His latest score of 174 is a reflection of his time and ability.

He is similar to Matthew Hayden who also did his groundwork prior to touring India and we all know what results he got. Sack someone and give Robert Key his opportunity because he is obviously a very intelligent and talented young man and will add interest and flavour to the remaining four Tests.
James Jensen, Australia

Key must play, as the one in-form batsman, and it should be Butcher who makes way. How he can survive on the basis of one lucky innings against the Australians nearly two years ago is a national disgrace.
GW, India

Not picking Key would be akin to Hussain winning the the toss in the first Test and electing to field!
Richard Garrard, Kent, England


There is no point in England playing an all-rounder if he is either not up to Test standard or unfit
Andrew, England

Key should play. How can a side that is bowled out for 70 be contemplating omitting the only batsman currently with any form?
Matthew, Dover, England

Key is a fantastic young player with a lot to offer the failing England side. He is the only consistent performer, and some one new for the Aussie bowlers to think about!

But what we have to remember is that Key plays for Kent, so his chances of playing in the next Test are therefore zero! The selectors would then have to admit they got the team and squad selection wrong from the beginning.
Chris J Dale, Spain

There is no point in England playing an all-rounder if he is either not up to Test standard or unfit (both of which apply to both White and Flintoff).

Play six batsmen plus Stewart, and get the runs on the board. If four bowlers cannot bowl Australia out, then adding another mediocre performer (e.g. Tudor) will do no good. Our strength is in top four batsmen, and Key can help to cover for a fragile lower order.
Andrew, England

When he learns to catch, perhaps his batting will justify inclusion. His fielding is atrocious - three drops in the last Test in England and one as substitute fielder in Australia is just not acceptable at Test match level.
Peter, Spain


Please let this young man have a Test match before he too gets worn down and injured
Peter Williamson, Canada

Robert key has to play, and the only way in is at the expense of Craig White. Playing a fifth bowler doesn't really work unless the 'all rounder' can make a significant contribution with either bat or ball. With Freddie not ready, let's back Robert Key to make an impact.
Geoff Evans, Herts, England

It makes you laugh doesn't it? A player who was never originally intended to be a part of this squad is the most consistent performer! I wonder how many other county players there are out there who should have been selected but weren't.
Matthew, Japan

With the bowling looking worse than a ladies' Sunday afternoon third team, England need all the runs they can get. Of course Key should be in the team.
Steve, England

It's a difficult argument - do you play your 11 form players or do you select players in the roles that theory dictates need to be filled. It could be looked at a bit like the conundrum of playing a second spinner whilst in India just because you're in the sub-continent rather than the player's ability.

I guess the crunch question will be: "Do we risk an all-rounder who may come on form to give us some balance or do we play the extra form batsman who looks like a safer guarantee of runs, and would give the remaining bowlers more runs to bowl at?" A difficult one.
Alex Willmott, UK

Key has been a refreshing sub-plot for those England fans following the Ashes soap opera. Please let this young man have a Test match before he too gets worn down and injured.
Peter Williamson, Canada


Of course he should be in the team. He's young and does not have the baggage some of the older players do about constantly losing to Australia
Rob Hastings, England

I say give Key a place and do without the all-rounder. Neither White (uncertain form) nor Flintoff (uncertain fitness) are likely to do any more for England than Key.

Caddick, despite all his faults (and I'm a Somerset supporter), thrives on hard work. Providing he doesn't breakdown (which is unusual) he will happily bowl 30 overs in an innings.

Vaughan should bowl more, and would have to if we have only four main bowlers. An equally big problem is whether to persist with Hoggard, who looks to be a yard (or two) short of pace for Australia.
Bryan Stoner, England

During the series against India in England Key did not succeed, but he was always smiling and did not exhibit any sings of nerves at all. Maybe that has made him click in difficult Aussie conditions.

Key might be the key to England's fortunes. He might well turn out to be the hero when the much lauded heroes viz. Vaughan and Trescothick have repeatedly failed to deliver.

Mind you, Brad Williams bowled exceedingly well and he was already waiting in the wings for entry into the national team prior to this tour match. For Key to play Williams and the other bowlers and remain unbeaten is a good achievement. He should be selected.
Maheshkumar M, India

Of course he should be in the team. He's young and does not have the baggage some of the older players do about constantly losing to Australia. After all, if you're going to win matches you've got to have your best players on the pitch, and he's been England's best batsmen on tour without a doubt.


Key appears to be one of the only players not totally overawed by playing the Aussies
Tom Foster, UK

As the old saying goes, "you're only as good as your last innings," and on this sort of form Robert Key is simply very good. The Aussies haven't seen a great deal of him, and hence cannot have a specific bowling strategy against him.

But for once, let's do what the best sides in the world do and give young, talented players the chance to shine against the very best players in the world. Who knows, he might even do well!
Rob Hastings, England

Key looks good and I thought he looked good at Trent Bridge. But who do we leave out? Not Vaughan or Trescothick - they are our best hopes. Not Butcher - he has scored runs. Not Hussain - he is the captain. Not Crawley - he and Key are the only ones to score runs consistently. It would have to be a bowler or White.
Steve Fenton, UK

Key appears to be one of the only players not totally overawed by playing the Aussies. It is vital to have players willing to take it to the opposition when under pressure, and Key seems able to do this. England should play seven batsmen and four bowlers.
Tom Foster, UK

Key is a consistent player, and he should get a chance to show what he is capable of on this tour. England have nothing to lose as it is obvious now that they are unlikely to win a single test.
Ram, USA

Key deserves his place in the side. Stewart is our all-rounder of quality, as Gilchrist is for Australia. Neither Flintoff nor White should be in the team on current form. Play four specialist bowlers only, again as Australia have been doing for a while now.
Simon Clements, Bahrain


Key should definitely play in the second Test. He, Nasser and Crawley look the only batsmen in any sort of form
Darren Clark, England

Logic says that an in-form Robert Key must surely make the team for the Adelaide test. Mind you, when did logic come into things on this tour?
Neil, England

I've seen Key play so many times for Kent and each time his attack against pace bowling has been very consistent. Given the chance against the attack of McGrath and Gillespie, I think he could definitely perform well and be an asset to the England team.
Nathan Ingram, Kent

I think Key should definitely play in the second Test. He, Nasser and Crawley look the only batsmen in any sort of form, and we need every player in form if we stand any chance of beating the Aussies. So play him!
Darren Clark, England

This is yet another chance for the selectors to be bold with their decision-making. Will they conform to past errors and keep the young player out of the Aussie cauldron?

Let's hope that Key gets his opportunity to face the world's greatest bowlers, and then we'll really see what he's capable of. Once the selectors have chosen him, it is then Key's responsibility to grab the chance with both hands.
Bobby Normanson, Tong, England

This is typical of the trouble we are having with the modern game - why on earth is Key not an automatic inclusion? He is the only consistent performer on this tour, and if 174 does not get you into this demoralised team what on earth will?
Dan, Yorkshire

I think it would be hard for him but yes, he should definitly be in it before the Ashes is over. I wish all the best for him.
Max Taylor, New York

Of course he should. An England low on confidence needs in-form players. Key has been consistently good all tour.
Tom Eyre, Ireland

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