January 14, 2002

Caddick relishes renewed international challenge

CricInfo

Andrew Caddick is back in the England fold, and looking forward to responding to the challenge of Yorkshireman Matthew Hoggard, set down in the Test series in India before Christmas.

Caddick missed the series because of security concerns following the terrorist attacks on America, while Darren Gough had already decided to take a rest.

But after Hoggard's success leading the England attack in their absence, Gough and Caddick have to earn back their places for the six-match one-day series, rather than being the established opening pair.

But Caddick is welcoming the challenge, which he believes it may well benefit England in their build-up to the World Cup in South Africa next year.

"Hoggy's done very well," Caddick conceded. "He came into the frame against West Indies a year or so ago, had a taste of it and saw what was required and went away and worked at it.

"From all reports, he has done very well and he is now providing good competition which is healthy because players need to know there are others ready and good enough to take their spot.

"Hoggy should be trying to knock Darren and myself off our pedestals and it's up to us to respond and make sure he doesn't take our places.

"Every player needs that sort of challenge otherwise things become too comfortable and if I'm not playing in the first match on Saturday, I'll be making damn sure I play in the next one."

The situation arises from what Caddick describes as "one of the most difficult decisions I will ever have to make".

"It was a big family decision which we made jointly after I'd spoken to a lot of people," Caddinck explained. "I asked a lot of friends of mine and they all said that if they'd had been in my shoes they wouldn't have gone.

"I would have been giving up only five weeks of the year, but if anything had happened I could have given up something far greater which I didn't think was worth the risk.

"It was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made and probably the most difficult I'm ever likely to make.

"I made the decision on the grounds of what was happening in the world at that time and it was a risk that I wouldn't get back in. It wasn't one of those things I took lightly, as far as I was concerned my winter was gone."

Unlike Robert Croft, who withdrew from India for the same reasons as Caddick but failed to regain his place because of the rise of young Yorkshire off-spinner Richard Dawson, Caddick has been welcomed back to the England camp.

"I think the break refreshed me, I feel fit and it does make you feel better in yourself," Caddick said. "When you've had 18 months non-stop cricket, it does wear you down after a while.

"I'm sure Darren will feel exactly the same and come running in hard because we've both got a fresh pair of legs coming into this.

"I think it's refreshed my appetite for the game as well, although as you get older it is harder to get yourself going again and you do start thinking about the day when you don't have to do it any more."