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Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK


Second time lucky for Maddy

Darren Maddy hopes to make the most of his opportunity

Few, if any, of the England cricketers on tour can have worked as hard as Leicestershire's Darren Maddy to earn themselves a place in the party.

Ever since he was a surprise selection for the 'A' tour to Kenya and Sri Lanka in 1997/98, Maddy has set his sights on one target - the Test team.

That chance came last summer and, though it was not as successful as he would have liked (he scored 14 and England lost the match to New Zealand), he has been given an extended chance with a place on both the Test tour and the one-day tour to follow.

"The Test match, I really enjoyed it," Maddy told BBC News Online, shortly before leaving for South Africa.

"I actually think I played well in the first innings. I only managed 14 but I felt confident that it was the start of something big."

Frantic introduction

"It was amazing really. The five days went so fast . I had always presumed a five-day Test would go by so slowly.

"The atmosphere really made an impression on me too.

"Whenever we scored a run or took a wicket the crowd cheered. It was such a buzz. The result didn't go the right way for England but the memories are good ones."

Maddy knows the fight to get into the tour party is only the beginning.

"The way I see it there are four opening batsmen on the tour and so my goal is to do as well as I can in the warm-up games and get my chance," he said.

Long haul

"The next stage will be to cement my place and only then I can start thinking about scoring centuries for England.

"There is also the team perspective. We have to do well and I really believe we can. I think we are going to surprise a few people."

Having won the county championship twice in the past four years with Leicestershire, Maddy is that rare bread of Englishman, one that is used to success.

"I had a good season last summer, averaging over 40 in first-class cricket and scoring over 1,000 runs," he said.

"Perhaps I could have scored a few more but then any ambitious batsman would think the same. I set myself very high standards.

"I'm really excited about going there. I've been to South Africa about five times now and done well each time.

"We play our first match just a few days after getting there. I just can't wait to get off the plane and get stuck in."



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