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Graveney couldn't watch

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David Graveney

David Graveney admittted he could not watch the Ashes drama unfold © Getty Images

Chairman of selectors David Graveney has revealed he left The Brit Oval for two hours as England claimed the Ashes from Australia.

With wickets tumbling, Graveney left the stands as the drama unfolded, returning after Kevin Pietersen had led the hosts to the draw they needed to win the urn back.

“I have to admit I left the ground and sat in the car park listening to it on the radio,” he told BBC Radio Five Live.

“Cricketers are very superstitious, you hear that people don’t leave their seats in the stands at certain times.

“I left the ground after Kevin Pietersen was dropped and thought that if I went back in he might get out.”

Kevin Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen made a century while Graveney sat in the car park © Getty Images

Graveney believes the key to success this summer was England’s refusal to allow Australia to dominate.

After winning the first npower Test at Lord’s, Ricky Ponting put England in to bat at Edgbaston and the hosts took charge thereafter.

Skipper Michael Vaughan then won the remaining three tosses to allow England to get runs on the board first and effectively bat the tourists out of games.

“They stuck to a principle of disciplined cricket, to dominate the first day, dominate the first session and dominate the first hour,” said Graveney.

“We batted first in the remaining four Tests, once at Ricky’s request and the others Michael winning the toss, which enabled us to dominate the first day.

“We didn’t quite do it at The Oval but in the other three games Australia were chasing us all the time.

“It was inner belief, the lads thought they could do it. There were awesome performances by everybody but you have to pick out someone like Freddie Flintoff.

“I’ve been involved in a number of Ashes series which we’ve lost before it’s even started. All I said was that if we got it to The Oval with the series still alive then it would be an awesome summer of cricket.”

After England’s rugby union team won the 2003 World Cup they have struggled to maintain their dominance, which selector Geoff Miller believes is the task Vaughan’s men now face.

“The rugby lads won the World Cup and from then things haven’t gone quite as they would have wanted since then,” Miller told Sky Sports News.

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“What we have to make sure we do is go to Pakistan and India and win there - which is very difficult. The game never stops and we have to make sure that we continue to win.

“What we want to do is create a shadow team, a peripheral team. You’re picking a family, a big squad - in one or two areas we need a bit of back-up.”

Miller believes the true test of England’s development will be in the next Ashes series, adding: “The statistics say Australia are best in the world, and quite rightly so. We’ve got to continue to win and play Australia in Australia, which is a different ball game.

“We have to keep our feet on the ground and continue to improve.”