England send Silverwood straight to front line

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The Independent Online
Chris Silverwood, England's third replacement fast bowler, joined up with Nasser Hussain's humbled squad here yesterday after a chaotic week that has seen him fly to Hong Kong â“ where he represented England in the Hong Kong sixes â“ and back before receiving a phone call from the selectors alerting him that his services were now required in Australia.</p>After such travelling it might be thought that a few days overcoming jet-leg would be at the top of his itinerary. But no, the Yorkshire fast bowler is likely to be thrown straight into the thick of things following the injury to Simon Jones and an uninspired display from England's other quicks during the first Test in Brisbane.</p>With England desperately needing to put up a better show at Adelaide in just over a week's time, there could well be two fast bowling places available. Hussain, along with the England coach, Duncan Fletcher, will be starting their search for a bowling combination that could win them a Test match this week as the side prepare for their game against Australia 'A' on Friday.</p>"Yes, I want to get back into the Test team," Silverwood said at the team hotel after spending two hours of his first afternoon in Australia in the gym and the swimming pool.</p>"But at the moment I am at the back of the pecking order. It is up to me to work hard and work my way up that order. I realise I have not got much time to stake my claim but if you get a chance you have got to take it."</p>There to greet the 27-year-old were his four Yorkshire team-mates Michael Vaughan, Craig White, Richard Dawson and Matthew Hoggard, who gave his fellow fast bowler a special hug even though he must be aware that both of them may be competing for the same Test spot in a week's time.</p>Hoggard was the most disappointing of England's bowlers at The Gabba, which should give Silverwood, along with Stephen Harmison and Alex Tudor, the chance to impress in Hobart.</p>"It is possible that I could take his place," he said. "We know each other well and have been mates for a long time, but I know I will have to bowl well to take his spot because he has done well for England in the last year. It is up to me to force my way into the side. If I am bowling well, hopefully the chance will come along. It is in my own hands now."</p>Silverwood, who played the last of his five Test matches during that infamous game against South Africa at Centurion Park in 2001, is genuinely fast but has been in and out of the Test side since he made his debut in Zimbabwe in 1996-97. During this time he has managed to bowl the quickest balls bowled by an English bowler, touching 93mph in South Africa, a speed he repeated last summer during a televised day/night game for Yorkshire against Durham.</p>Pace and heart when the competition gets fierce have never been a problem for Silverwood. It has been injury â“ he fractured his left ankle at the end of last season â“ and his inability to get the ball in the business area consistently that has prevented him from playing more international cricket than he has.</p>"My biggest asset is my pace and I am still bowling fast," he said. "I have just got to get a bit more consistency to my bowling, but now that I am a bit older and wiser I feel I have learnt that."</p>His wholehearted fast bowling has won praise from no lesser quarter than the former England all-rounder Ian Botham. He now has the ideal stage to show that he can do it when it counts. </p>