January 7, 2000

Vodafone honours England A tourists

Vodafone has given awards to three players for outstanding performances on England A's recent tour to Bangladesh and New Zealand. Mark Alleyne, the England A team Captain, received the Best Batsman Award, Paul Franks received the Best Bowler Award and Chris Schofield the Best Fielder Award. Each award winner will receive £1,000 from England team sponsor Vodafone.

The Vodafone awards were decided by Mike Gatting, the England A Team Tour Manager, following yet another highly successful winter tour. The team finished unbeaten, winning both the 'A' Team Test Match series and the One-Day International series against New Zealand. It means the England A Team remains unbeaten in all matches since losing to Natal in a four-day game in January 1994. In the 36 corresponding matches, England A has recorded an impressive 19 wins and 17 draws.

Mark Alleyne (Gloucestershire) topped the batting averages on tour with 657 runs at an average of 46.92, recording a highest score of 152* against the South Island in New Zealand. Paul Franks (Nottinghamshire) headed the bowling averages and took 31 wickets on tour at 17.45. His best figures were 5-26 against Central Districts in New Zealand. Chris Schofield (Lancashire), meanwhile, complemented his excellent fielding by finishing the tour as highest wicket-taker with 35 wickets.

Mike Gatting said, "Mark [Alleyne] did a very good job as captain. He played a huge part in our success in the One-Day International series in New Zealand and he was outstanding in Bangladesh. In New Zealand he also made a big hundred against the South Island and a battling 96 to save the first Test Match. It was a close decision for the batting award between Mark and Vikram Solanki, but we decided to give it to Mark, not only for his batting but also for his captaincy and valuable wicket taking.

"The decision for the bowling award was also tough to make with Chris Schofield and Paul Franks close contenders. We eventually gave it to Paul, who had to take on the role of strike bowler due to the departure of Chris Silverwood to South Africa. He did a great job, improving as the tour went on.

"Chris Schofield had an excellent tour all round. Not only is he a high-quality fielder, but he also bowled extremely well and made some important contributions with the bat."

For further information, please contact Mark Hodgson in Corporate Affairs: Tel: 0171 432 1251. Fax: 0171 289 5619. E-mail: mark.hodgson@ecb.co.uk