Nixon to grab Christmas present with both hands

It takes a big strong or slightly deranged man, or somebody who is just about to leave the England touring party to play a practical joke on Andrew Flintoff. Matthew Hoggard qualifies for the first two, but it was probably the third option that provided him with the courage to cut the coloured adidas stripes off Flintoff's bowling boots when Michael Vaughan replaced him as England's captain.

To Hoggard, who is not a member of England's 16 man one-day squad, the removal of the stripes was symbolic, a fitting end to Flintoff's reign in charge. Fortunately, Flintoff saw the funny side of it and England supporters will be hoping that it is the first of many smiles for the all-rounder during the one-day series. The form of Flintoff without the pressures of captaincy will be monitored closely during matches against Australia and New Zealand, which began with a Twenty20 international against Ricky Ponting's side this morning. Another player who will be watched closely is Paul Nixon, England's 36-year-old wicket-keeper.

Nixon toured Sri Lanka and Pakistan with England as Alec Stewart's understudy in 2000-01, but is yet to make his international debut. During the Ashes Geraint Jones and Chris Read failed to impress with the bat but, even so, Nixon's selection came as a total surprise. He was not in the shadow squad that spent six weeks in Perth while the Ashes were still alive and England are meant to have several gifted young keepers playing county cricket.

Nixon owes his selection to his form with the bat with Leicestershire. The left-hander averaged almost 60 in first-class cricket last season and made important contributions in the shortened form of the game. And should he perform over the next month he would be the favourite to take the gloves in the World Cup in March.

"Being selected for the one-dayers is one of the best Christmas presents I have ever had," said Nixon at the Sydney Cricket Ground. "I am delighted to be part of a new, upbeat one-day squad. I'd be lying if I didn't say that the thought of playing in the World Cup is somewhere at the back of my mind, but for now it is all about doing well in Australia."

Nixon does not believe his advanced years are a problem. If anything he thinks they will work to his advantage. "I do not believe that age is an issue," he said. "I may be 36 but I'm as fit as anybody in the game and I still love playing. The wise old heads of Nixon, Jeremy Snape and Darren Maddy have done well in one-day cricket in England in the last couple of years, especially in Twenty20, and I think it is important to have a few calm heads around in these situations.

"Hopefully, my experience will help the team. I believe one-day cricket is all about roles. It is about people playing to their strengths. Michael Vaughan and Ian Bell are not six hitters, whereas Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff are. So it is important that players stick within their roles and try to take their egos out of the game. Players need to play with controlled aggression. One-day cricket is about taking options at the right time."

The volume of runs Nixon has scored will have impressed Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, as will his energy and bravado behind the stumps. He is not averse to the odd sledge and it will be interesting to see the response of the Australians to his antics. "I was fortunate to play with Steve Waugh when I was at Kent," Nixon said. "He used to talk about mental disintegration and I have always given and taken a bit. That's the game, and I admire the Aussies because they are generally the first guys to come and shake your hand at the end of a game.

"It's about strong characters, and whether it be in business or life strong characters get to the top. If there is something to be said at a certain time I will say it. The wicketkeeper has to remain positive and give out energy. He needs to let people know how well they are doing and create a feeling of calm. I know that I am better suited to the role of England wicketkeeper now than I was six years ago. I am a stronger person and I know my game a lot more."

Warne has 'no problem helping England'

Shane Warne's "affection" for England could persuade him to help the tourists recover from their Ashes humiliation.

The England coach, Duncan Fletcher, has said he would be interested in some help from the 37-year-old spinner, who responded by saying: "Australian cricket is my priority. I want the team to stay No 1 in the world and to help the sport to remain No 1 in the country ... beyond that, I also want to make sure that cricket stays healthy worldwide. So I would not have any problem with helping in England, New Zealand, South Africa or anywhere else. We live on a small planet these days. It was interesting to read Duncan Fletcher say he thinks I can offer assistance to England.

"That was very kind of him, especially after he said a few weeks ago that his batsmen were on top of my bowling. Perhaps he's changed his mind after Adelaide and Melbourne."

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
News
i100
Sport
Adel Taraabt in action for QPR against West Ham earlier this month
footballQPR boss says midfielder is 'not fit to play football'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

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

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album