Cricket: Lewis engages top gear

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Worcestershire 162 and 32-1

Nottinghamshire 321-9 dec

Match drawn

MERCURIAL and enigmatic are adjectives that spring readily to mind when assessing Chris Lewis, ambiguous words that, for all their connotations of infuriating unreliability, indicate an aptitude for the extraordinary. All credit, then, to the England selectors for going against their more negative instincts by continually taking a chance on that potential.

The Nottinghamshire all-rounder's stroke-play yesterday vindicated that faith. With lunch-time rain reducing the outfield to a treacherous expanse, it was purely in the interests of public relations that this contest was extended past tea, 240 overs being lost all told. The visitors' visions of the victory that would have enhanced their prospects of Championship place money had long since been washed away, leaving only the memory of Lewis's unbeaten 70 to cherish.

At 24, Lewis, is one of the most experienced members of this Nottinghamshire XI, one containing eight uncapped players, including the captain, Mark Crawley. Come next season, Derek Randall, Bruce French and Tim Robinson will be the sole survivors from the 1987 Championship-winning outfit.

As Worcestershire head for their worst Championship finish for almost a decade, Tim Curtis's determination to infuse his side with young blood is well-founded. Indeed, with Phil Neale gone and Graham Dilley about to follow suit, the committee would seem to be backing their captain to the hilt.

The interest shown in Chris Broad, however, suggests otherwise. Granted, Adam Seymour has struggled at the top of a brittle batting order, yet the precociously talented England Under-19 captain, Philip Weston, has lately displaced the former Essex man. To sign Broad now would be another PR exercise, and just as redundant.