Giddins aims to return after ban

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Ed Giddins has pledged to return to first-class cricket a better player after serving his 20-month ban for using cocaine - and has not ruled out playing for England. Giddins has revealed he will not appeal against the suspension, which was imposed after a random test which found he had taken the drug before Sussex's match with Kent at the end of May.

Now the 25-year-old fast bowler, sacked by Sussex two days after the TCCB ruling, is considering offers to play in South Africa, the West Indies and Australia, and may even play a summer of Lancashire league cricket next year.

"I was extremely saddened by the TCCB's decision. While I still protest my innocence I will not be appealing," he said.

"Instead, I intend to carry out the suspension with dignity and use the 20 months to improve my game. I feel increasing my level of fitness can prolong my game for three or four years.

"I trust and hope the TCCB will not bear a grudge against me and treat me fairly because I want to play cricket again at the highest level in 1998."

"I just want to make sure that cricket people don't forget about me. On April 1, 1998, I don't want to creep back into the game. I hope to be fitter and better than before and to force my way into the England team."

Giddins insisted he is desperate to keep playing and sees next season as a a depressing prospect. "I'm already missing playing for Sussex and imagine it will be even worse next summer," he explained. I would have loved to have stayed with the County but it wasn't possible."

The pace bowler, who toured Pakistan with England A last winter, added he has been heartened by messages of support from Sussex followers.