White in form to beat the pain

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The Independent Online
Craig White is playing through the pain barrier in an attempt to revive his international career. Despite having broken his right thumb nine days ago, he took 4 for 36 in Lahore yesterday as England A beat the Gymkhana club side by 40 runs in a hastily arranged practice match.

John Emburey, the team manager, regards White as a key player and was glad to see him come through what amounted to a fitness test in such style.

White won his first four Test caps in 1994 before a shin injury forced him to pull out of the Headingley Test against South Africa. Then, in Australia last winter, he went home early because of more injury problems.

Recalled against the West Indies in the summer, he played two further Tests but failed to impress with either bat or ball and has come to Pakistan with critics questioning his ability to become a Test-class all-rounder. Currently he averages only 15.70 with the bat for England, and 41.75 with the ball.

"I obviously want to do well on this tour both as batsman and with the ball, but people must remember I am still very young as a bowler, especially in medium-pace style,'' White said

"I only switched from bowling off-spin a couple of years ago and have a lot to learn about bowling yet. It went OK today, but in the next match I want to really let it go and get into a good rhythm."

Two other players, Jason Gallian and Shaun Udal, picked up injuries which make them doubtful for the four-day match against a Pakistan Board XI starting in Lahore today. Gallian tweaked a hamstring and Udal twisted a knee, but neither are in doubt for the first Test against Pakistan A on 17 November.