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Cricket: SOLANKI'S HINT TO ENGLAND.

Byline: IAN CLARKSON

VIKRAM Solanki may be described as 'promising youngster' at the age of nearly 30 -but he is still waiting for that elusive Test call-up.

The 27-year-old did his chances no harm with a sensational performance at Lord's last weekend, clubbing a quickfire 50 as England romped home by seven wickets against South Africa to win the NatWest Trophy Series.

There were suggestions that two high-profile innings against the Proteas -Solanki also scored a century at The Oval -could eventually propel him into the longer version of the game, as happened for Marcus Trescothick four years ago.

And skipper Michael Vaughan refused to rule out Solanki's claims for a Test start one day although he missed out on selection for the Edgbaston Test this Thursday.

But you won't find the Worcestershire star blowing his own trumpet. 'I'm not really concerning myself with that,' he said. 'What I can do, though, is look back on what was a great day for me and a fantastic day for the team as a whole.

'It was a good team effort and I was delighted to make a 50 at The Oval. I was pleased to score some runs because if I am honest then I was a little bit disappointed that I failed to show more consistency against Zimbabwe and South Africa.'

His latest displays have proved to be a second bite of the cherry for him as eight one-dayers against the Proteas and their near neighbours in 1999 proved to be less than fruitful.

Nevertheless, Solanki now feels as though he is a permanent resident of the England one-day party as opposed to being an occasional gate-crasher.

'I certainly feel part of the team after playing throughout the whole series,' he said. 'I had an opportunity when I was 23 and was given an extended run in the team, but I failed to post any sort of score so I could have no complaints when I didn't get another chance straight away.'

However, with Worcestershire in a four-way battle for three promotion places from the second division of the Frizzell County Championship -as well as trying to secure their topflight status in the National Cricket League -then he has more pressing matters on his mind.

'What I am concentrating on now is trying to help Worcestershire gain promotion,' he said.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 20, 2003
Words:390
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