Cricket: Cork keen to show off his one-day talents

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DARREN MADDY and Dominic Cork face each other in today's second NatWest Trophy semi-final with both players eager to show that their one- day talents having been overlooked by England for this week's triangular tournament.

Cork, the Derbyshire captain, and the Leicestershire opener Maddy are regarded as two of the better one-day players in England, yet both were left out of the squad announced yesterday to face South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Cork was recalled to England's Test line-up this summer and played throughout the series against South Africa while Maddy was chosen for the Texaco Trophy against the tourists. They have the perfect stage to respond to England's snub in front of a sell-out Grace Road crowd and are encouraged by an assurance from the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, that: "The door is still open for all players."

The England disappointment apart, victory for Derbyshire would complete a momentous week for Cork, who played his part in the landmark 2-1 series victory over South Africa.

"That would make it a great week for me," Cork admitted. "The vict-ory at Headingley was the highlight of my career up to now - to be involved in winning a five-Test series was brilliant.

"I think Derbyshire have proved a few people wrong this season. It was said we would sit down and not do a lot, but we are playing good, aggressive one-day cricket."

Leicestershire will start as favourites, but Derbyshire's unexpected triumph over Surrey in the previous round has lifted confidence.

Cork stressed: "When we beat Surrey in the quarter-final at The Oval, we showed we have players who are big-match temperaments.

"We're all motivated to get to Lord's because we aren't doing too well in the Championship, so this could kick-start our season."

Leicestershire's challenge has been disrupted by a long-standing back problem to their captain, Chris Lewis, which will almost certainly prevent him from delivering his useful seam bowling in the semi-final. Lewis said: "I've been struggling since the one-dayers earlier in the season. I have bowled less and less hoping it would get better, but it has not responded in the way I would have liked.

"Just batting and fielding is hard work because standing for more than 10 minutes gives me a lot of stress."