Cricket: Russell refuses to be beaten

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Jack Russell has vowed to fight on against the "monotony" of being the England winter tour's forgotten man. Russell, condemned to almost total inactivity by England's decision to use Alec Stewart as wicketkeeper- batsman in the Test side, has played only three one-day matches during the 55-day old campaign in Zimbabwe and New Zealand.

Tomorrow he appears for his old club Tukapuna in an Auckland League fixture - a move designed to give Russell much needed match practice. And the Gloucestershire wicketkeeper does not rule out a further appearance for the club he played for in 1983-85 if his situation does not change later in the tour.

Russell said: "The only time in my cricket career that I have experienced such a long period of inactivity like this was during my very first England tour - to Pakistan in 1987 - when I think I played one-and-a-half days' cricket in eight weeks.

"But I was a youngster then, learning my trade, and as you get older it gets harder to be on the sidelines. It has become a bit monotonous - it was great just to get out on to the field as a substitute fielder the other day in Palmerston North.

"There is only so much you can do with net after net, but I am still prepared to go through anything to get my England place back.

"I told Mike Atherton the other day that I will be there when England need me. The management all know what I can offer, even though they don't choose to use that at the moment.

"I'm in a position at the moment where you have two options - give up or fight on, and I am not prepared to give up yet."

Russell fixed up his club match after confirming that he would not be playing in England's four-day game against Northern Districts here.

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