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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 17:24 GMT
Butcher ready to scrap for place
Mark Butcher
Butcher will miss the start of the county season with injury

Mark Butcher intends to force his way back into the England top-order when he returns from a wrist injury.

The 32-year-old sat out of the last three Tests in South Africa and has seen Rob Key, Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen stake claims for his spot.

But Butcher, who misses the start of the season, welcomes the competition.

"It will be a case of who puts most runs on the board. It's really a clean slate and the number three is the one slot up for grabs," he said.

"I don't see it belongs to anybody at the moment.

"Who scores runs in the right type of fashion and in most weight has been what has got people first go in the past and I don't expect it to be any different this time.

"I just need to look at what I am doing. There is nothing I can do about Robert Key or Kevin Pietersen or whoever else for that matter.

"If Ian Bell scores tons of runs I have to score more - it's as simple as that."

The Surrey left-hander did not enjoy the best of summers last year and has not scored a Test century since Trent Bridge against South Africa in 2003.

But he has a good record against Australia, and Butcher hopes his experience against the old foe will stand him in good stead ahaed of the Ashes.

"I have played about 20 Test matches against them so that counts for something," said Butcher, who scored a memorable century in the 2001 Ashes at Headingley.

"I have had some success against Australia, not an enormous amount, and that is perhaps part of the reason I got recalled four years ago."

Butcher's Surrey return delayed
18 Feb 05 |  Surrey

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