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Paul Nixon, 28, is highly regarded on the county circuit as a tough competitor. He made his debut for Leicestershire 10 years ago and has been a pivotal member of their Championship winning sides. Adrian Aymes, Hampshire's wicketkeeper, is just one who believes "Nicko" is the man for England. "He is a gutsy player who always gets stuck in and grafts, although he can also play shots," he said. "As a batter he's probably better against pace but he would never give his wicket away and England need that mentality. Every time Hampshire have played against Leicestershire he has kept well. He likes to stand up to keep to the seamers and he does it well. This can put real pressure on the batsman and is attacking cricket. He is definitely mentally hard enough and his record over a long time speaks for itself."

First-class career

Batting: M 168; I 234; NO 51; R 5,649; HS 131; Ave 30.87; 100s 11.

Keeping: Catches 435, Stumpings 36.



The presence of Jack Russell at Gloucestershire forced Chris Read to move north to Nottinghamshire at the start of last season. Selected for the last two A tours, his pedigree as a glove-man was recognised early but his batting has brought him recent attention. At 20 he's the youngest of the contenders and his 160 not out against Warwickshire two weeks ago won him more supporters, not least his manager, Clive Rice. "He is an outstanding talent," he said. "He is very quick behind the stumps, catches the ball extremely well and, importantly, it doesn't matter if he is standing up or back. His attitude is also excellent and there are no questions over his mental strength. He has what it takes definitely, as he is proving to us every week at Nottingham where he is one of our best batsmen. Simply, he is a class act."

First-Class career

Batting: M 31; Inns 46; Not Out 9; Runs 1,033; Highest 160; Ave 27.92;, 100s 1.

Keeping: Catches 92, Stumpings 4.



At 31, age is against Robert Turner but his form this season, where he averages over 60 with the bat, has forced him into contention. He was placed on stand-by for the tour of the Caribbean two winters ago but, unlike the other two, has never been on an A tour. "England need to win Test matches now," said Jamie Cox, captain of Somerset and Tasmania, "and that means picking the man in form and that is Turner. Age shouldn't come into it and England should pick the best man for the job. At 6ft 2in he is not the prettiest of keepers but he has a fantastic reach and has taken some brilliant takes. His hands are as good as any I have seen here or in Australia and his batting has dug us out of some situations. I would pick Robert Turner now."

First-class career

Batting: M 142; I 222; NO 44; R 5,730; HS 144; Ave 32.19; 100s 7.

Keeping: Catches 353, Stumpings 36.