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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Embattled Cricketer Gets Show of Support

LONDON -- While Michael Atherton was taking a day off to consider his position as England's cricket captain, a member of the team's selection committee said he hopes there won't be a change.


Fred Titmus, one of the five selectors who will announce Thursday their choice of captain for the winter tour of Australia, said on Monday that Atherton has the support of the England hierarchy.


"I have told (team manager) Keith Fletcher to tell Mike Atherton I am behind him," Titmus said. "There have been reports that we have mixed feelings, but I will be disappointed if he doesn't lead the team to Australia."


Chairman of selectors Ray Illingworth and Fletcher have already made public their support for Atherton, who has faced calls to resign from the British press after receiving two fines during the just-completed Test series against South Africa.


"I think it's important for Mike to know we are behind him," Titmus said. "He has shown a lot of character this summer. The problems he's had have not been trivial things, but I never thought they were hanging offenses."


Atherton was fined 2,000 pounds ($3,000) for keeping dirt in his pocket and misleading the match referee during the first Test, then was docked another 1,250 pounds ($1,875) for dissent during the third Test on Friday when he appeared to disagree with an umpire's decision.


England won the Test on the fourth day Sunday to end the series in a 1-1 draw. Atherton admitted afterward that press coverage of the dirt and dissent incidents would force him to think about his position during the off day Monday. "The criticism hurts and sometimes I wonder if it is all worthwhile," he said.


If Atherton leaves, former captain Mike Gatting, 37, would be favored to take the team to Australia.