England expectations: Four hoping to make an international breakthrough

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The Independent Online
Chris Adams


IMPORTED (at vast expense) to Sussex, the level of his wages has unfairly tended to overshadow his ability. Adams started to repay the investment early with two hundreds in the Championship match against Essex. He led the way in the B and H Cup, with his singular, charging one-day style, but it was not enough to put his new county into the quarter-finals. Adams is a feisty competitor with an enviable range of thumping strokes which he is unafraid to play. He can give the impression that bowlers always have a chance but worse and much less attractive scores have won England caps before. His time needs to come now.

WOULD be a bold selection indeed at this stage of his career but the 20-year-old from Preston, captain of England Under-19 last summer, has so far coped well with the demands. One of the young guns taken on England A tour in the winter, he was hampered by a back injury but still revealed enough to score a century in their opening match. His medium-paced bowling will be useful rather than threatening, though that can amount to the same thing in limited-overs cricket. Has found some form for Lancashire this season, without setting the world alight, and his 92 in the last B and H group match helped to secure qualification.

A CALM and collected cricketer who made impressive strides on the A trip. His looming presence as left-arm spinner and assertive late middle- order batsman was crucial in the victories in two of the three Tests against Sri Lanka. Looks as if he can handle the big occasion, a rare attribute to be encouraged. He was in the one-day squad for the home series against Australia in 1997 and played one match. He has started this summer adequately with 11 wickets in the B and H group matches and his temperament suggests that he may also soon reduce the list of those who have played one-dayers for England but not Test matches from 12 to 11.

PICKED, some say too early, others insist presciently, for England's senior tour two winters ago. Played one Test but on return regressed rapidly. It was to his enormous credit he came back, technical flaw apparently overcome, with a real flourish towards the end of last season and secured another tour place when his Yorkshire colleague Darren Gough withdrew. Ignored throughout West Indies trip, he still earned admirers with his phlegmatic approach. Began well this summer with 14 wickets in opening two Championship matches and reliable economy rate in B and H Cup. Question marks may hang over pace, none over attitude.

Andrew Flintoff


Ashley Giles


Chris Silverwood