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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Q&A: Chris Read
England's Chris Read
Read was recalled for the NatWest Series this summer
We put your e-mails to England's promising young wicket-keeper Chris Read.

The 24-year old is tipped to take over the gloves for England from Alec Stewart when he retires at the end of the summer.

Read, who plays for Nottinghamshire, made his Test debut for England against New Zealand in 1999.

However, he endured a baptism of fire behind the stumps and was subsequently cast into the international wilderness.

But a spell at England's Academy in the winter of 2002/03 helped Read rediscover his form and saw him recalled to the England squad for the NatWest Series earlier this summer.

Click on the audio link below to listen to Chris' comments or read the transcription below it.

Interview by BBC Sport's James Doe.



Richard Moore, United Kingdom

Who inspired you to start playing cricket seriously?

My Dad was a really big cricket fan and got me into it about as soon as I could walk. I joined my local cricket club in Paignton when I was six and took it from there.

You eventually get to a certain level when you realise you can make a career out of cricket, and doing something you absolutely love for a job is about the ideal thing you can dream of.


David Wilkins, Essex, England

What wicket-keeping drills do you do before a match?

There are basically three things to work on: your head, hands and feet.

You need to keep your head still and make sure it's in line with the ball. Your hands should be relaxed and nicely giving with the ball. Finally, your footwork also needs to be worked on.


Nathan Foy, England

I play for the England blind cricket team and am regarded as the best blind fielder in the world. I wish to be the next wicket-keeper for England and want to know if the best fielders make the best wicket-keepers?

It's an interesting point. It was something I was always aware of as a child as I didn't take up wicket-keeping until I was 12. At my school and club sides I was always told that if our wicket-keeper went ill, we should always pick our best fielder to replace him and there definitely seems to be something in that.

A good fielder will also have good hands and move well in the field, making them well suited to wicket-keeping duties.


Lee Chambers, England

I'm a wicketkeeper and am fairly chirpy behind the stumps. Do you think that it helps to try and get 'under the skin' of batsmen as a wicket-keeper?

Aside from performing, the main job of the keeper in terms of applying vocal support is to his own team. I believe the 'keeper is the focal point for all the fielders and makes sure everyone stays on their toes and doesn't drift off. It's his job to keep everyone concentrating on the game and encouraging the bowlers.

With regards to getting into the batsman, I think 'keepers can definitely put pressure on the batsmen in terms of what they say but there's a very fine line to tread given the rules governing such actions.

If you concentrate too much on chirping to the batsman, then you may neglect some of your other wicket-keeping duties. It's very much an individual thing and probably something that would be last on my agenda. It might come up if a batsman nicked one and didn't walk.


Phil Samuels, England

In your time at Gloucestershire what good habits did you pick up from Jack Russell?

Jack was great, although we didn't see that much of each other in the 18 months I was there. He was very good, when he had time, to talk to me about keeping and would sometimes take me through a few drills. He was excellent and took me through basically the same principles that I've already outlined.

His mentor was Alan Knott, who I'd also worked with before my Gloucestershire days as part of the England set-up, so we had a lot of similar ideas.


Leo Steeden, Buckinghamshire

What was life like at the Academy in Australia and how did it improve your technical skills?

Life was brilliant, I really enjoyed the Academy. It was really hard work but I'm not shy to that. It was a lot of fun and it was good to have a chance to work with Rod Marsh, which was a big plus.

Technically, on the wicket-keeping side of things, there wasn't a lot that I changed. Me and Rod had very similar ideas on technique. What was slightly different was the mental approach that he gave me, which stopped me getting lazy.

From a batting point of view I did quite a lot of technical work. I went back to basics in the nets, making sure that I kept still and relaxed at the moment the ball was delivered.


Lewis, UK

Will Nottinghamshire manage to stay up?

Good question. Obviously things aren't looking too great at the moment and we haven't performed to the best of our ability this season. If we continue in this way, we don't deserve to stay up.

However, I do believe we have the players and the squad, if we can get some consistency together, to get on a roll and avoid relegation.

We've got a tough start to our run in with a game against Surrey but it's an ideal place to go to put us on a roll for the rest of the season.


Jon Braybrook, Milton Keynes

What is it like keeping to Stuart MacGill? Does he give you any signals to say what ball he is going to bowl next?

I'll answer the second part of that question first - that's a no. This is mainly because I've never had a bowler that I require signals from. The more you work with a bowler, the more you know what they're going to do.

Stuart is a massive turner of the ball. Some batsman might not believe this but he doesn't believe his variations are particularly hard to pick and he therefore feels that he has no reason to give me any signals.

To answer the first part of the question - it's been a brilliant experience keeping to him. Being such a big turner, he keeps you on your toes all the time.

I've really enjoyed it, it's really helped me with my keeping and it's been a pleasure. A lot of 'keepers go through their whole career without keeping to someone like him, hopefully it will continue for a few more seasons.


David, Australia

What's your opinion of your Nottinghamshire team-mate Kevin Pietersen?

He's a superb player, just a wonderful cricketer really. I'm sure the best is yet to come from him as he's still very young. Once he's qualified in about a year, I don't see much stopping him from breaking into the England side.

He's a wonderful batsman, a really destructive player. He's a very good fielder but he does need to work on his bowling - I wouldn't call him an all-rounder.

We know he can bowl but his batting seems to take over a lot of the time. I believe he can become a useful off-spinner though.


Felicity, Hammersmith

Does Chris Cairns ever remind you about that slower ball at Lord's?

No, not at all really. We have a laugh and a joke about it every now and then. Cairnsy's been great for the club and is a very good person to talk to about cricket.


Kevin Ellis, England

As a supporter of Nottinghamshire, I feel you have been let down by the England selectors. How do you feel?

I don't think so at all really. I didn't perform particularly well in the Test matches during my first stint with England and didn't retain my place. With someone like Alec Stewart waiting in the wings to take my place you can't really have any complaints.

I enjoyed my first stint with the one-day team while Alec was injured. When he recovered, he duly took the place back from me. Again, I had no complaints.

It was great to be given my chance this summer and hopefully I've secured my one-day place for a little while.

As for the Test situation, Alec is still very much part of the England set-up as a centrally contracted player and is performing well. Despite him saying he's going to retire at the end of the season, I believe he will still be available for selection and if England want him, he'll be the wicket-keeper that they pick.


Joseph Pearson, England

What do you think makes you the best man for the England job?

I don't know, I don't necessarily think about being the best man for the job. I just think about what I can offer and get on with my game and try to do the best for whichever team I'm playing for.

Obviously I've got pride in my own performance, but I'm not here to say I'm better than this guy or that guy as I would never say such a thing. There are a lot of good young wicket-keepers coming on around the counties which is really good for English cricket.

All I'm going to think about is increasing my own consistency behind the stumps and also improving my run-scoring capabilities to a level where it will be hard for the selectors to drop me once they've picked me.


Neil D, UK

If, as expected, you break into the Test side after Alec Stewart retires, what are your targets in terms of batting? Do you hope to bat in the top seven, and what do you think is a good Test batting average for a 'keeper such as yourself?

Looking at the make-up of the side, I'd definitely have hopes of batting at number seven and could see no other way that that would really work given the current structure of the side.

These days, unless you've got a good all-rounders, it's hard to bat your 'keeper lower than seventh.

It's hard to judge averages. I believe Alec has averaged around 35 as a wicket-keeper but at the same time you've got Gilchrist averaging in the mid to late 50s and Andy Flower in the early 50s.

There's a big difference there with those being the elite in terms of batting. I believe Mark Boucher averages over 30 so to get somewhere over 30 would be pretty good going.


Steve , South Korea

In the current Test series, South Africa just seem a bit more hungry than England. What do you think?

That's a very hard question to answer when you can only see them on the television like everyone else.

I see no reason why South Africa's desire to win should be any greater than England's. Whichever way you look at it, you're going out to play for your country and I'm sure all 22 players who go out on the field are giving their all.

I believe the reason that South Africa have done so well is that they've outplayed England so far in this Test series. That's not to say I think they're a better side than England, we just haven't hit our straps yet.

If we're going to get back into this series, we're going to have to do so pretty soon. I don't think for one minute that the England players are sitting around with their heads down and not being up for it at all. I think they're well up for it and looking to fight back. The series is still wide open with three Tests left to play.




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