England news March 3, 2010

Stephen Moore brushes off South African roots

Stephen Moore, the former Worcestershire batsman who has moved to Lancashire, wants to turn his fortunes around after a troubled 2009 season and push his claims for an England place. If successful he would add another name to the list of South African-born players in the side, but he believes so long as a player is fully qualified and committed to England it shouldn't matter where he was born.

"In my own mind I'm fine and have always been very open and honest about my ambition," Moore, whose parents are both English, told Cricinfo. "If people went and looked back to when I first started getting interviewed as a player I said 'I'm English, I've always been a British citizen and I want to play for England.'"

Craig Kieswetter's rapid promotion to the England one-day side has again thrown the spotlight on the number of South Africans in the set-up and, despite suggestions from national selector Geoff Miller that it is an issue they are watching, he is unlikely to be the last.

Ahead of Moore in the pecking order is Michael Lumb, who was born in Johannesburg, after he was was included in the preliminary 30-man squad for the World Twenty20. Lumb has a good chance of being included in the final party after a successful England Lions tour of UAE.

"Mine's a different scenario to a few others who have talked about lack of opportunity, I don't know about that, mine has got nothing to do with that and I've always wanted to play for England," Moore said.

"For the greater good of English cricket it's about becoming the best side in the world and hopefully I can play a part in that. I don't focus on negative things or issues that are written about. I can guarantee you that the guys who pull on an England shirt want nothing more than to win for their country."

However, if Moore wants to fulfil his ambition of playing for England he will need to bounce back from a 2009 season that went rapidly downhill after the high point of his 120 for the Lions against Australia at New Road. When England needed a replacement for Kevin Pietersen during the Ashes, Moore's agent sent out a press release extolling the virtues of his client, but by then his form had already tailed off.

He ended the County Championship campaign with 738 runs at 27.33 and well before the end of the season had made his intentions clear to leave Worcestershire. He was still handed a category A contract with the Academy and spent time before Christmas in Pretoria, but missed out on the Lions tour to UAE as the likes of Michael Caberry and Lumb moved to head of the pack.

"The bottom line is guys have taken the spot I could have had if I'd scored more runs at the right time, but professional sport is about taking opportunities and that's what makes you reach the next level," he said. "It turned into a difficult season on and off the field but I can't wait for this season to start. This year I'm a better player and a better person after last year's experiences. You have to learn from the difficult times."

ASICS ambassador Stephen Moore was speaking at the launch of Run to the Beat - London's music half marathon - for more details and to book your entry place visit www.runtothebeat.co.uk

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

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