Chris has not given up on Test return

WITH Ashley Giles suffering another injury setback England cricket is currently struggling in the spin department.Northamptonshire's Monty Panesar has shown some promise, but there must be question marks against his batting and fielding if he is to move forward and gain a regular place in the Test side.

By Elvin King

WITH Ashley Giles suffering another injury setback England cricket is currently struggling in the spin department.

Northamptonshire's Monty Panesar has shown some promise, but there must be question marks against his batting and fielding if he is to move forward and gain a regular place in the Test side.

Suffolk cricketer Chris Schofield will go into today's third day of the Minor Counties Championship match against Bedfordshire at Ransomes Sports Ground still believing he can fill the current void.


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And he sees the decision to give a Test debut to spinner Shaun Udal at the age of 36 last winter as cause for optimism.

Six years ago the 27-year-old Schofield was playing at Lord's against Zimbabwe in the first of two England Test appearances.

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His career has dipped since then with a drop out of the first-class game.

But leg-spin bowler Schofield has re-discovered much of the form that made him such an exciting prospect in his teens.

And the former Lancashire star has not given up hope of returning to the Test scene.

He impressed bowling in the Beds first innings at Ransomes and said: “Shaun Udal is an example of what can be achieved.

“Despite his maturity he was called into the England team at 36 - and I feel I have plenty left in my career.”

Schofield took four wickets in both innings of a recent Derbyshire Second XI game against Yorkshire and is set to play for Derby against the second team of his former county Lancashire at Glossop starting tomorrow.

“Having been out of the first class game now for a couple of years I know what it is like. I am working hard to get back in and this is one of the reasons I moved to Suffolk from Cheshire this year.

“If a county offers me another chance I am sure I will not disappoint.

“In my later years at Lancashire they brought in overseas spinners in Muthiah Muralitharan and Carl Hooper and I never got the ball in my hand.

“I ended batting at No. 6 and averaging over 40 runs per innings, which is another string to my bow.

“Last year playing Second XI cricket for Durham and Sussex, Minor Counties for Cheshire and club cricket I bowled more overs than in the previous four years. At Lord's for England I did not bowl a ball, and in the next Test I bowled 16 overs and although I didn't get a wicket I did well enough.

“England did not pick me for the following winter tour to Pakistan where spinners can expect to shine, but I have not given up hope of getting back on the England scene.”

And Schofield sees hope for Suffolk as they bid to retain the Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division title. “It is difficult to gain a result in a three-day match that is affected by rain,” he said. “But the squad is similar to last year and is very capable of repeating the success.

“When I played for Cheshire in the play-off final against Suffolk at Ransomes, Suffolk director of cricket Kevin Brooks asked if I fancied joining the county in 2006.

“There was a chance to play club cricket in the area as well. I weighed up the options and felt it would give my career prospects a boost by playing for Suffolk.”

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