An email conversation with cricketer Chris Read

'Branding the ICL a rebel league is ridiculous. It's political nonsense'

It's been an extremely close Championship. How do you see it panning out between Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Durham and Kent in the next fortnight? This week's match between Durham and Somerset will go a long way to deciding who will win this year's Championship. Both sides have a game in hand on ourselves and Kent, and should there be a positive result, the winner of that game will really be in pole position. From our point of view a complete washout would be ideal!

How have you taken to captaincy and did you expect to do quite so well in your first season? I have enjoyed the captaincy immensely. I had a good deal of time to get used to the idea since, as soon as Stephen Fleming announced that he wouldn't be returning to Trent Bridge, Mick Newell approached me about taking on the position.

Many people said they would be big shoes to fill and they sure are, as I rate Flem as the best leader I have played under. But I felt having stood next to him in the field for three seasons allowed me to study his methods and learn as much as I could from him.

I am obviously extremely happy about our performances this year. Before the season, I made no predictions about where we would finish, I just wanted us to be competitive and gain some much needed consistency, which I think we have achieved. I believed that if we were there or thereabouts with a month to go anything could happen and that is the situation we find ourselves in.

I learnt a lot about what it takes to win a Championship back in 2005 and many things have to go right for you, not least injuries and weather. I have a feeling the weather may have an important part in determining this year's winners.

Is the Championship still considered the most prestigious of the competitions to win in county cricket? At Nottinghamshire the Championship is most definitely considered to be the most prestigious of competitions to win. I don't see that changing in the near future. It remains the most complete test of a team's abilities.

But won't the millions on offer in the Twenty20 Champions League begin to have an effect? The money on offer in the T20 competitions is indeed alluring and what was a bit of a novelty competition five years ago is fast becoming the one that everyone wants to win. The T20 competition is played exclusively over three to four weeks, is massively entertaining and asks different questions of the players. Its popularity will continue to grow and I believe counties will look to tailor their squads specifically for the month the competition runs. Rules regarding overseas players should be relaxed to allow counties to build their ideal T20 team but only for that month. I'd suggest that counties play a minimum seven English qualified players. However, the County Championship will remain the greatest test of a player's skill and a team's ability to perform consistently over six months.

So what is your view on overseas players in county cricket? There is no doubt in my mind that overseas players in our game raise the standard. I would like to see an end to all the overseas/ Kolpak debate and for the ECB to simplify the rules by imposing a minimum number of English qualified players in each team. My recommendation would be for nine English qualified players to play in each Championship team. The remaining spots can then be filled with players from wherever you like. For instance, if you want two Aussies in your four-day team, then so be it.

You went to play in – and win – the Indian Cricket League, which later became branded as a breakaway tournament. Any regrets? I really enjoyed playing in the inaugural ICL tournament and would love to participate again but, as the current situation stands, it is looking unlikely. Branding it as a "rebel" league is quite frankly ridiculous and I would love to see the ICC recognise it as an official tournament. As players, we just want to be able to cut through all the political nonsense and find out where we stand once and for all.

Do you still harbour ambitions to play for England? Have the selectors spoken to you lately? England selection rarely crosses my mind. My viewpoint has always been that if you provide an unquestionable argument to be selected you will be picked. The only way you can do this is by performing your job better than your contemporaries.

You played with Kevin Pietersen during what was sometimes a stormy time at Nottinghamshire. Give an assessment of his early days as England captain. KP has had a dream start. He knows there will be tougher times in the future and to a certain extent it is how he copes with these as to how he will be judged.

Is the future of the game looking secure? I think there is a bright future for the game in general as long as the big decisions regarding the game's structure are not rushed and are well thought out. Obviously, there is a lot of money coming into the game and predominantly in support of the shorter form. This is all well and good so long as the future of the longer form is safeguarded.

Can England win the Ashes next summer? England have an excellent balance to their side right now and I see no reason why they cannot mount a sizeable challenge in next year's Ashes. Prior to winning the Ashes in 2005 England had gained good momentum in the previous few series. I think success this winter will be crucial in building confidence leading up to the big one next year.

Stephen Brenkley

Attachment: The Chris Read lowdown

*Born 10 August, 1978, Paignton, Devon

*Height 5ft 8in

*County Nottinghamshire

*Fielding position Wicketkeeper

*Tests 15 Runs 360 Highest score 55 Average 18.94 Last Test Australia v England at Sydney, 2-5 Jan, 2007

*One-day internationals 36 Runs 300 Highest score 30* Average 17.64

*Career highlights Won 2005 Championship with Notts and inaugural Indian Cricket League with the Chennai Superstars

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all