England v New Zealand, 1st Test, Lord's May 11, 2008

Hoggard ready to fight for place

Cricinfo staff

Matthew Hoggard: "I think it is good for English cricket that so many players are vying for not so many places" © Getty Images
Matthew Hoggard knows the hard work has only just started after earning a place in England's 12-man squad for the first Test against New Zealand. He admits he would have feared for his career if the call hadn't come, but doesn't expect to walk straight back into the XI on Thursday.

Ten wickets in two Championship matches for Yorkshire and three in the first innings for England Lions against the New Zealanders, at The Rose Bowl, were enough to persuade the selectors that Hoggard deserved a recall. He was dropped after the Hamilton Test against New Zealand in March following a poor match that yielded one wicket, although the feeling was he was slightly unlucky and paid the price for Michael Vaughan and the selectors wanting to shake up the team.

But with England having won the final two Tests in New Zealand with a pace attack of Ryan Sidebottom, Stuart Broad and James Anderson, Hoggard knows he has to earn the right to return to the bowling line-up.

"I thought I had done enough to stay in the squad. If I hadn't been in the squad that could have been the end of me," he told Sky Sports News. "I know there is a long way to go. The 11 that finished in New Zealand finished with two winning Tests. I need to keep knocking on the door but I think they are in the driving seat.

"Obviously I am quite capable of starting at Lord's. If you look at my record I have done alright in the past. But they are the men in possession at the moment. Jimmy [James Anderson] is bowling really well - he's just had a five-for against Durham.

"The other lads [Broad and Sidebottom] we played against at Headingley and they are bowling well so it is a headache for the selectors. I think it is good for English cricket that so many players are vying for not so many places."

However, Hoggard has never been shy of hard work and is prepared to do whatever it takes to add to his 67 caps and 248 wickets. He needs five more scalps to move past Brian Statham, the great Lancashire fast bowler, in England's all-time list.

"I worked hard in New Zealand. I've been working hard while I've been back in England and hopefully I have put in the right amount of work and had the right attitude to show them that I still want to play for England," he said. "I'm desperate to play for England and I want to put the three lions on when I get to Lord's."