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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 15:23 GMT 16:23 UK
Chris Read Q&A
Chris Read

Chris Read has recovered from a bad start in Test cricket to work his way up a list of young talent aiming to take the wicket-keeping gloves left by Alec Stewart.

Read was dropped after three Tests following his debut aged 20 and spent four years in the wilderness, working hard to improve his game at Nottinghamshire.

He returned to the side at the end of 2003, but a poor return with the bat in the Test series in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and West Indies saw him replaced by Geraint Jones for the final Test in the Caribbean.

His place in the limited-overs side looks assured in the short term, but his battle with Jones for the Test spot looks set to continue.

Here, Read takes time out of his preparations for the final one-dayer in Barbados to answer your questions.

Who was your role model when you were growing up?
Yousuf, UK

I had more than one, really.

From a keeping perspective, Ian Healy and Jack Russell were the two that I most looked up to and aspired to be like.

But when you're growing up you want to do everything, so from a batting point of view Graham Thorpe was one of my heroes.

Who did you first play cricket for and how did you get spotted by Notts?
Martyn Hill, England

Jack Russell
Read left Gloucs because his hero Russell was firmly entrenched

I come from Devon so I went to my local club at Paignton at the age of about six and worked my way through the set-up there.

From there I played minor counties cricket for Devon, which was where I got picked up by Gloucestershire.

I spent a season and a half at Gloucester but struggled to force my way into the first team with Jack Russell there, so it was a case of moving and looking for a club that needed a keeper.

Fortunately, Notts fitted the bill.

How do you keep your concentration for so long and do you ever think about your batting while keeping?
Conor Brailey, England

I'll answer the second part first - yes, I definitely think about my batting when I am behind the stumps.

Not all the time, but if you're fielding first I like to picture myself batting on the wicket and get an idea of how it will play.

As for concentrating, I think that's something you build up over time.

When you start out the games are a lot shorter, but as you get older they get longer and longer.

It's never pleasant fielding for two days, but you do get used to it and it's one of things you have to do.

How did you feel about being dropped for the final test in the West Indies?
Stuart Dove, England

Obviously very disappointed. Being dropped is not a nice feeling and I was pretty gutted.

But it's one of those things and I understand the reasons, though it would have been nice to complete the series and have a bat on the flattest wicket of the series.

But that's life and I have to move on. I was dropped because I wasn't scoring enough runs and my main aim now is to prove everybody wrong at Notts this summer.

What is it like playing for England out in the Caribbean? Do you enjoy touring?
James Brinning, Wales

It was absolutely brilliant. Touring with England is something all cricketers want to do and when you come to a place like the West Indies it's all the more special.

There are beautiful islands, the people are fantastic and mad keen on their sport and the atmosphere at the grounds is awesome.

It's comfortably the best tour I've ever been on and one I will remember fondly always.

How big would you say the gulf is between county cricket and Test cricket?
Nick West, UK

It's an interesting question and one that's often asked.

Obviously the standard is a lot different and a lot of people slag off county cricket for being a poor standard.

But I disagree. I think there are a lot of highly talented cricketers playing county cricket.

I think we fall down because we play so much cricket. There perhaps isn't a big enough emphasis on each game that is played.

We literally go from one game to the next and there is very little time to sit back, debrief and learn from your mistakes.

The major difference between county and Test cricket is the intensity at which the game is played.

How do you think England will go against a much-improved India side in the NatWest Challenge later this year?
Harsimran Ahuja, England

It's a prelude to the ICC Champions Trophy and I think it will be a very good mini-series.

It will be a good opprtunity for India to adjust to English conditions, and I'd like to think we would go into it with a bit of an advantage because we would have played a whole season in our own backyard.

They are an superb one-day team but they have to adjust to out conditions and we will have the home ground advantage.

What do you think of your county colleague Bilal Shafayat and his prospects of playing for England?
Adam Dennehey, England

Bilal is an extremely talented player but he is only young and he needs a couple of big seasons to first of all break into the first teams at Notts on a regular basis.

He's more than capable of scoring 1,000 runs a season, and if he does that and progresses as we all hope he will then his England prospects are good.

Who is the best bowler you have hit for a six?
Chris Newman, Scotland

Muttiah Muralitharan I would have to say.

I think he got me out pretty soon afterwards but at least I managed to clear the ropes off his bowling.

Do you or any of the England team have groupies?
Tatty, UK

Um, I don't know about that. I don't think so. Not me personally, anyway.

Obviously we have a really good fan base and it's been awesome to see the support we've attracted to the West Indies, but as for actual groupies I haven't noticed too many hanging on.

What other sports are you interested in and what type of music do you listen to?
Harriet C, England

I'm interested in a lot of sports and pretty much watch anything.

I still play hockey whenever I can for my local club side. I support my local football team Torquay United, who are currently in the Division Three play-offs and fingers crossed they will get promoted.

One sport I don't play that many cricketers do is golf. I haven't got into that yet, so I'll have to save it for when I get older.

As for music, I'm very much into guitar-based stuff and rock music.

There are a lot of good British bands around at the moment and I like to listen to Stereophonics, Coldplay and Travis.

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