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Last Updated: Monday, 23 August, 2004, 12:44 GMT 13:44 UK
Proud to play for England
Matthew Hoggard
By Matthew Hoggard
England pace bowler

It's been a fantastic summer for us and I'm sure when I look back in years to come I will actually realise we managed something amazing.

But at the moment, the achievement has not sunk in.

I started playing for England in 2000 and in that time I've seen a few changes in personnel.

But from being a side which competed and won here and there to one which has now won seven Tests on the trot is just brilliant.

England team
The England team celebrate in style
I think the hard work started four years ago under Nasser Hussain and he brought us on leaps and bounds and coach Duncan Fletcher has worked wonders.

The nucleus of the side has been together for a good three years now and I think we are beginning to reap the rewards of all the hard work that has been put in.

Steve Harmison summed up the summer perfectly when he said it has been a great team performance with some outstanding individual performances.

Everyone has contributed and those who have come into the side, namely Robert Key and Ian Bell have done probably more than what had been asked of them.

We have got such a great team spirit that it doesn't matter who is getting the wickets or the runs, we are just happy for whoever does well in each game.

But we failed in our mission in the last Test because we wanted to win by an innings.

We failed by one run but I suppose it wasn't bad to win by 10 wickets!

Matthew Hoggard
Hoggard was pleased with his performance with both bat and ball
When we went to the Caribbean earlier in the year, Michael Vaughan said we were going there to create history.

We did not let him down there and we haven't done at home and on the final day of The Oval Test he urged our tired bodies to give one last huge effort.

Waiting to score the winning run was a bit of an anti-climax because we had to put the pads on for just one run but when Marcus Trescothick hit that boundary, there was a collective feeling of elation among the team.

We celebrated with a team dinner and then went on to a club where we got slightly merry!

I won't be needed by England again until the tour of South Africa, and that is going to be a tough series.

Before then I'll play for Yorkshire for the remainder of the county season and get married to my fiancÚe Sarah Duce in October.

Although South Africa aren't in great form at the moment, they will be at home in front of their own crowds when they face us and I am in no doubt they will have re-grouped by then and will come at us with all guns blazing.

We will be full of confidence but we will certainly not take them lightly as we know we will have to perform better than we have this summer if we are to beat them.




SEE ALSO
No room for complacency
18 Aug 04  |  England
England in the winning habit
28 Jul 04  |  England
Going forward by finding reverse
11 Aug 04  |  England
A privilege to play for England
14 Jun 04  |  England


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