• Short Summary

    The 51st Test series between England and Australia starts at Old Trafford on Thursday. Ray?

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    GV Illingworth bowls to Kanhai who hits boundary

    SV Illingworth interviewed SOF IN:"Ray Illingworth....." SOF ENDS: "... pleasure."

    QUESTION: "Ray Illingworth, you captained England on its last tour of Australia, when it recaptured the Ashes. You put your faith then in fast bowler John Snow and it paid off, for he had the Australian batsmen on the run. Are you going to put your faith in fast bowling tactics again this season?"

    ILLINGWORTH: "Well, I think this will depend entirely on the wickets. The wickets are completely different from wickets in Australia, where they are hard and they bounce, and the wickets in the last two test match seasons here have been very slow. If they are like that, then we shouldn't have complete faith in fast bowling. It just depends on the wickets, entirely."

    QUESTION: "Doug Walters has made two successive centuries on the eve of this series. Do you see Walters as Australia's major threat against England?"

    ILLINGWORTH: "I think Doug's a very good player. He's going to be battling lewish down - probably about sixth -- and if the bowlers are a bit tired when he comes in he can certainly hit it around. I don't believe he's a bigger threat than any other Australian batsman - Stackpole, Chappell, any of them. I think they are all equal. They have all got to be got out".

    QUESTION: "What do you think of Australia's fast bowling line-up generally?"

    ILLINGWORTH: "I think they have had very little time really to get acclimatised. Lillee has locked very promising when I've see him. I've only seen Bob Massie for about two overs when he broke down. From what I've heard, Cooley's bowled fairly well. I think they'll be adequate. Again, it's very early in the season. We've played so little cricket -- and the Australians have played hardly any at all. It's followed them round, has the rain. And I think we shall just have to wait and see on this."

    QUESTION: "The Australians haven't had much chance for a decent practice with all this rain. Do you think this is going to affect them in the first test?"

    ILLINGWORTH: "Well, it's going to affect the new boys, yes -- the people who haven't been to England before must be lacking a bit in experience under English conditions. Those who have been on tour before -- well, probably not too much".

    QUESTION: "Ray, you haven't been named captain for all these Tests. How do you feel about it?"

    ILLINGWORTH: "Well, I've never been picked for a series before, so its nothing new, Every other series I've been picked for it has been bits and pieces. So it is always the same."

    QUESTION: "You're a Yorkshireman, and like most Yorkshire sportsmen, you're a fairly forthright sort of character. Do you think the England selectors have held this against you."

    ILLINGWORTH: "Oh he, I'm sure not. Definitely not, no. No I'm definitely sure on that."

    QUESTION: "England batting seems to be in a transitory sort of stage, the middle order is fairly wide open. Who do you think are the future stars of England?"

    ILLINGWORTH: "I think this is a very tricky problem. I don't honestly think you can name a young batsman under 22 in the country. And this is one of the problems the selectors have. We just can't name them. And it's no good saying name them, because there aren't any."

    QUESTION: "The Australian side is one of the youngest ever to come over, whereas the England side has, by cricketing terms, some fairly old cricketers -- yourself, Boycott. Do you think this agegap is going to show up at all in the coming series?"

    ILLINGWORTH: "No, I don't think so, not entirely. I think we tend to start a little bit later in getting into the side, and we play a little bit longer than the Australians. I think there's a five year difference in age -- us starting at 25, them starting at 20; us going on to 35 or over, when they finish just over 30. So I don't think it will make too much difference. People in Australia say the outfielders can't do this. But in actual fact, when you get down to the Test Matches, I don't think they field any better than we do."

    QUESTION: "You've just had to have some physiotherapy, Ray, in the middle of the Warwickshire-Leicestershire match. Is this anything serious?"

    ILLINGWORTH: No, no, I live in there. I get a bit of backache. We've had a month of very cold winds, and I think this has been playing up a bit in the cold winds. I think one or two of the Australians have the same complaints."

    QUESTION: "And finally, Ray, how do you see the outcome of the series?"

    ILLINGWORTH: "I still think England will win, but I think it will be very tight. I don't think there will be very much in it."

    INTERVIEWER: "Ray Illingworth, thank you very much indeed."

    ILLINGWORTH: "Pleasure."

    Illingworth bowling; Illingworth interviewed.

    Initials SGM/0310

    SPORT - Cricket

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The 51st Test series between England and Australia starts at Old Trafford on Thursday. Ray Illingworth, the man who led England when they recaptured the Ashes in Australia, has been appointed captain for the first two Tests in the current series.

    Today (Sunday), he took time off from a Sunday league match at Edgbaston -- where his Leichestor side was playing Warwickshire -- to survey prospects for the coming Test series. He was interviewed by Visnews reporter Bill Ward:

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