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DIZZY CAN PUT US IN A TIZZY!; Speed king Gillespie can't wait to take on England.

The motorbike is safely parked back home in Adelaide but Jason Gillespie is still set to hit the fast lane against England this summer.

Test cricket's latest pace-bowling find is sure to spearhead Australia's attack with Glenn McGrath throughout the six-match Ashes series - and Mike Atherton's side would do well to ignore the 22-year-old's rock `n' roll image.

The studded earrings are standard issue for young sportsmen these days but Gillespie's genuine high-speed talent is an extremely rare commodity.

Gillespie got his first Test chance against the West Indies earlier in the year, but it was a hamstring injury to Paul Reiffel that gave the South Australian the real opportunity to nail down a permanent place in Mark Taylor's team on the recent tour to South Africa.

Gillespie responded by taking 14 wickets at a little over 20 in the three Tests and topped the first-class averages in South Africa ahead of Allan Donald with 32 wickets at a miserly 16 to clinch his right to charge in against England this season.

Already Gillespie has made his mark. He took a wicket with his first ball in England, knocking over the stumps of Zimbabwe Test opener Andy Flower as the Australians completed a comfortable win against the Duke of Norfolk's XI at Arundel.

Dizzy, as he is known in the Aussie dressing-room, finished with 4-21 in the traditional tour opener and there'll be plenty more wickets to come.

He destroyed Border at East London with a hostile spell of 7-34, but don't bet against him on improving on those career-best figures.

Gillespie, who named his two young daughters Crystal and Star, insists he still has a great deal to learn. He said: "It would be stupid to expect too much too soon. After all, I've still only played in five Test matches.

"Opening the bowling for Australia is a big load to carry. Certainly during the South African tour I never felt absolutely comfortable, but towards the end of the trip my rhythm was starting to come good - and that meant the pace was there as well.

"I know I will continue to learn a great deal here in England. I can hardly wait to take on the challenge."

Meanwhile, it's `forgive and forget' time for Surrey all-rounder Chris Lewis. The enigmatic England star is a good bet to be named today in the squad to face the Aussies in this week's three Texaco Trophy one-day internationals.

His form deserves it. But chairman of selectors David Graveney admits: "It may draw some comment if we bring Chris back."

However, we understand the selectors are so keen on the 29-year-old that they are ready to name 15 players today instead of the usual 14. That is just to give Lewis the chance to prove he has recovered from the ricked neck that has sidelined him all week.

But for the retirement of Ray Illingworth and the decision to stop skipper Mike Atherton from having a vote, Lewis might never have come back - despite his one-day runs and wickets.

Neither would have forgotten the day Lewis turned up late for the Sunday of The Oval Test against Pakistan last summer.

Lewis said he had a puncture - and a new tyre on his Mercedes bore him out. But he failed to ring in on his sponsored mobile phone.

As a result he was out of the three one-dayers and the winter tours of Zimbabwe and New Zealand, but with Dominic Cork's ongoing injury problems he is needed more than ever.

England's planning has been thrown into disarray by the wet spring weather. "It has been disruptive, especially for the batsmen," admits Graveney. "The list of people we have had to look at has been longer than it would have been."

Graeme Hick is a case in point. England would love to see him hit the high spots, but as Worcestershire coach Dave Houghton says: "He was in super form in the pre-season nets after a winter off. But with the dampish wickets and all that, he hasn't really had a good run to start with."

Not many batsmen have. But Mark Ramprakash made a ton for The Rest against England `A' at Edgbaston. Graham Lloyd, son of David, who played in the Texaco Trophy last year, made 225 against Yorkshire in a friendly and took 102 off Durham.

And, guided by Aussie Dean Jones, England `wannabe' Chris Adams and old hands Phil DeFreitas and Devon Malcolm are all putting a new spring in the steps of Derbyshire fans.

Daffy is the most likely to make it as England search for all-rounders - a search that could end with Surrey's two Hollioakes becoming the first brothers to play together for England since the three Grace boys at The Oval in 1880.

Predicted squad: Atherton, Stewart (wk), Knight, Thorpe, Hussain, Adams, Ramprakash, Lloyd, Lewis, Gough, Caddick, Croft, DeFreitas, Hollioake (A), Hollioake (B).

Jack Russell's Test career may not be over after all. Despite his book, rows with Lord's and a miserable winter tour, the Gloucestershire keeper could still be back.

It all depends on what happens this summer to Mike Atherton, who cops his share of flak in Jack's book.

We hear if Atherton is either injured or loses form, then the England captaincy will be handed to wicket-keeper Alec Stewart.

It is felt skippering and keeping wicket would be too much - that's why Stewart gave up the Surrey captaincy. So England would need another keeper - over to you, Jack!
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Ross, Alasdair; Whiting, Steve
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 18, 1997
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