Vol. 4 Num 94 Fri. August 29, 2003  

'Don't blame county'

England captain Michael Vaughan was described as "totally out of order" by Worcestershire chairman John Elliott on Wednesday after he slammed the state of county cricket earlier this week.

Following England's 191-run reverse against South Africa in the fourth Test at Headingley on Monday, Vaughan queried whether county cricket was breeding players who were "mentally tough" enough for international matches.

But Worcestershire chairman John Elliott hit back Wednesday saying Vaughan and the rest of the England set-up needed to "look at themselves".

Elliott said: "I am very disappointed reading his statement he has captained England in only three Tests. I think he is totally out of order doing that.

"What does it say for the English county cricket clubs who are striving to improve the game and the standard of cricket in England?

"England should look internally. He has basically called the players a load of wimps who are not good enough to play Test cricket.

"We have done everything for them. We have given them central contracts, brought in two divisions in the County Championship and National League, made one-day cricket 45 overs etc.

"They have got all the help in the world with physios, psycho-analysts, dieticians and managers. They've got everything and they still can't get out there and play the game."

Elliott, whose Worcestershire team meet Gloucestershire in the C and G Trophy final, English domestic cricket's premier one-day tournament, at Lord's on Saturday added: "I think they should look internally rather than complain about English county cricket.

"County cricket is the hand that fed Michael Vaughan. He has played county cricket for years and we are trying to improve English cricket and improve the England side.

"I am in favour of central contracts but I think the system should be fine-tuned. Many a time a player is better off playing cricket than just idling around.

"Perhaps Michael Vaughan will have a wake-up call and realise he has said the wrong things. I know a lot of people are very angry at what he has said."

Yorkshire batsman Vaughan said county cricket was to blame for England's failure to take several chances to win a match which ended with South Africa taking an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the five Test series.

"Maybe it's mental and maybe to do with attitudes and the way we are brought up in our game.

"You need guys who turn up mentally tough with a great attitude and I'm not too sure our system is allowing that at the minute."