January 30, 2001

Croft determined to take his chance

Staff and Agencies

Robert Croft
Croft: Putting the past behind him
Photo © CricInfo Ltd.

Robert Croft has had some harsh words for the English management team in the past, but his recall for the tour of Sri Lanka illustrates that no grudges are held on either side. His words were born of disappointment and frustration rather than spite, and though his record isn't yet Test class, England will not find a more determined character.

"Of course you hate to be dropped from any squad," Croft admitted, "but I have realised that to you have to work hard to keep your place in the side. I want to put the past firmly behind me and look at what I can achieve with England from now on. It is good to be back involved.

"One thing I have recognised while not being involved, is that to get back in is even harder to do but now I am here, I am just going to focus on getting that place back."

Croft has also noticed an improvement in the morale of the current tour party, but he has no illusions about the job at hand. He knows that a place in the side is far from a certainty, as he will be competing with Jason Brown for the job of complementing Giles' left-arm spin.

"The players are all confident that they can go out and win matches and there is a good feeling all around the squad," he said.

"In many ways it is certainly a lot nicer to be going away with a squad knowing you have a real fight on your hands just to get into the side. In the past we have gone on tour with people not believing in us and there has been a low morale but this is a very different squad."

However, Croft is aware that, after his promising start at Test level, he has disappointed somewhat. His last recall was against the West Indies at Old Trafford, where, on a dry pitch, he could only manage one wicket in nearly 50 overs.

"This is a tour that will help the spinners a lot more than the pitches in England and that should make things a lot friendlier," the Welshman commented.

"I know that I need to take more wickets and I have worked very hard over the last summer and the winter in trying to put things right, that have possibly not been working so well.

"I am aware of what is needed from me if I am to secure a place in the side and hopefully now I can show what I am capable of. I think at times in the past, I have played well for England, but maybe not on a consistent basis and that is something that gives you a long Test career."