Read close to England recall after drawing on Test struggles

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The Independent Online

Chris Read stands on the threshold of a Test comeback after admitting that the lessons he learned during his disappointing time with England four years ago have provided the motivation for his return to the international stage.

The Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper played three Tests against New Zealand in 1999 and nine one-day internationals on the tour to South Africa and Zimbabwe the following winter and was earmarked as the younger, more energetic alternative to an ageing Alec Stewart. However, he scored only 38 runs in four innings during the Test series.

Read's failure to take that opportunity allowed Stewart's return and such was his disappointment, he also struggled at county level, prompting a complete re-assessment of his technique.

That pivotal moment in his career, at the tender age of 22, began Read's return to the top level and earned his call-up for the Academy last winter under the tutelage of Rod Marsh before his successful return for England during last summer's one-day series.

"People have asked me about my time with England before and I don't believe I played up to scratch," said Read. "In the three Tests I played I played poorly so I had no right to be in the team.

"I began to look at myself and thought things weren't going according to plan. I should have been developing so I had a look at my game and put together a plan to put that right.

"I believe I am a lot tighter in my technique now as a batsman," he added, "and as a keeper I'm trying to be more consistent through looking at different techniques."

He will have an opportunity to display those talents this Sunday when England face the first match of their Bangladesh tour with a three-day game against a BCB President's XI in the National Stadium here. With England likely to field their strongest team in both of their two practice matches before the first Test on 21 October, Read is almost certain to play.

However, like the rest of the 15-man party, Read's preparations have been disrupted by torrential rain since their arrival on Wednesday, forcing them to utilise the indoor school at the Bangladesh Academy.

* Leg-spinner Anil Kumble became the 14th player in history and only the second Indian to take 350 Test wickets during the first Test against New Zealand in Ahmedabad yesterday. Kumble reached the milestone when he had Jacob Oram caught at slip. However, Nathan Astle scored New Zealand's first Test century in India for 27 years as his side finished on 282 for 8 on the third day in reply to India's 500 for 5 declared. The Kiwis need 19 more runs to avoid the follow on.

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