Giles finally makes his mark

 

Ashley Giles could be excused for losing count of the times England have picked him and then left him out. Indeed, the Warwickshire left-armer went through the entire one-day tournaments in South Africa and Zimbabwe last winter without bowling a ball.

He just had to be a patient squad member while others got on with the job.

And to demonstrate what a vast personal difference there was between the beginning and end of 2000, Giles delivered precisely 1092 balls in the series win over Pakistan to be England's leading wicket-taker with 17.

Instead of anonymously passing through Heathrow yesterday on England's return from the amazing climax to the Karachi Test, it was Giles who starred as the media's man of the moment aside, of course, from captain Nasser Hussain.

Yet it could all have been so different when a calf injury sustained during the one-day tournament in Kenya during October threatened his future participation in the winter's business.

But Giles' attitude is likely to be one task completed, another to come - and that will be in Sri Lanka on the second leg of England's programme in the New Year.

But similar quality performances on the far-flung fields of Colombo and Kandy in February and March will give him a powerful argument to be included for the Tests and one-day series against Pakistan and Australia next summer.

"I don't think you are ever owed anything. You have to prove it when you are given the chance," said Giles.

"Hopefully I've proved I can bowl, you've always got to reprove that each time you go out. "It's just fantastic to be part of a winning side in my first full series, to play a major part and to win in somewhere like Pakistan, in fortress-like Karachi, where they've never lost.

"There was a time in Nairobi when I could have come home. It could have been the end of my trip. But as it turned out I got back, they kept faith in me and hopefully I've repaid that trust."

It had been 13 years since England last toured Pakistan, in 1987 when the series will be recalled for the Mike GattingShakoor Rana controversy in Faisalabad.

And England are scheduled to go to Pakistan in 2005 and again in 2009."