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Last Updated: Monday, 16 July 2007, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Schofield back on right track
By David Gavrilovic

On the face of it, Twenty20 cricket should be a spin bowler's worst nightmare.

Chris Schofield
The ball has gone to the fielders who have held the chances

Chris Schofield

For Surrey's Chris Schofield, however, the game's shortest format has provided him with the platform to re-establish international credentials after a seven-year gap.

He forms a highly effective one-day bowling partnership with team-mate Nayan Doshi, who coincidentally was born on exactly the same day - 6 October 1978.

Schofield claimed 17 victims in this season's Twenty20 Cup, making him the leading wicket-taker in the group stage, and also took 13 in the 50-over Friends Provident Trophy.

"I don't know why I've done so well in the one-day games this season, I guess its been down to a bit of luck," Schofield told BBC Sport.

"I've bowled consistently where the captain wanted me to and we've worked to a plan which seems to have worked.

"The ball has gone to the fielders who have held the chances and it's been a month of my career when I've just bowled really well."

Despite this fine form, being named in England's provisional 30-man squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa came out of the blue.

"I don't think I really expected it. Things have gone well since I joined Surrey but it was still a bit of a surprise.

"When I went to the minor counties league I thought it would be an uphill struggle to get back to international cricket and I definitely didn't expect to get the call up this quickly."

The reference to minor counties cricket is a reminder of the low point of Schofield's career.

In 2000, he was seen by some as the next Shane Warne and thrust into the England side for two Tests against Zimbabwe.

Nasser Hussain and Chris Schofield
Schofield (right) receives his England cap from Nasser Hussain

"I got a central contract at 20 when I had only played 10 first-class games, which probably wasn't enough to warrant a place in the England team," he told BBC Sport.

"With Shane Warne showing how valuable leg-spin was the management decided England needed one and I was thrown in.

"I was the young up and coming one and had done well on an England A tour."

Schofield was fast-tracked as a bowling all-rounder and made a good start, scoring 57 in his second Test against Zimbabwe.

But he failed to take a wicket and was promptly dropped.

Schofield's Lancashire career nosedived as Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and reliable slow left-armer Gary Keedy kept him out of the team.

"It was very difficult for me, I had to play as a batter only for Lancs near the end because they brought in overseas spinners to work with Gary Keedy so I wasn't getting the bowling overs," Schofield explained.

"It was very difficult for me to earn a contract with any county as just a batsman. The signing of Muralitharan was brilliant for the county but very bad for my bowling chances."

After leaving Lancashire at the end of the 2004 season, he had spells with Cheshire and Suffolk before Surrey took him on trial for the last few games of 2006.

"I found my bowling again, that's why Surrey came in for me. Getting the overs bowling with the minor counties side allowed me to rediscover my bowling." Schofield said.

Despite his efforts, Surrey failed to reach the Twenty20 Cup quarter-finals.

Schofield must therefore turn to the Pro40 league to try and keep himself in the selectors' minds before they make a decision on the final squad for September's World Cup, but he refuses to think too far ahead.

"My confidence is good, I am bowling lots of overs but my main focus is Surrey.

"It's fantastic the selectors have noticed me. Hopefully I can still become an England all-rounder. I still have aspirations to get back into the England side - who knows what chances will come."

Spin makes difference for Surrey
24 Jun 07 |  Counties
Schofield wins case against Lancs
22 Apr 05 |  Lancashire
ICC World Twenty20 2007
29 Mar 07 |  Cricket


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