Lewis called in from the cold

 

CHRIS LEWIS declared himself" "ecstatically happy" after completing one of the quickest and most remarkable England comebacks. The 28-year-old all-rounder missed nearly all of last season because of injury and had to convince Surrey of his fitness before moving there from Nottinghamshire only a few weeks ago.

But now, on the strength of just eight matches for his new county, Lewis is back in England's 13-man squad for the three Texaco Trophy internationals against India.

Matthew Maynard also returns, and there are first calls for Ronnie Irani, Alistair Brown and Mark Ealham.

The speed of Lewis' comeback is little short of amazing, although he said: "Things have gone very well for me, so I'm not really surprised. I'm probably more surprised that I've played good enough cricket so early in the season to be considered and included. I wasn't sure what to expect from my body, but it's gone fantastically. Even so, I think there's a lot more to come."

England must believe so - or at least hope so - having shown great faith in a player who has many injury problems and seldom fulfilled his enormous potential during an international career dating back to 1990.

Lewis last played for England in the final two Ashes Tests of 1995 - and then only as a replacement after Mike Atherton's tour squad had been ravaged by injury.

Batsman Maynard, however, has to think back even further for his most recent international experience. He appeared in all five one-day internationals in the West Indies nearly two-and-a-half years ago, but failed to reach 30 on any occasion.

"I've got a lot to prove to myself and to other people. This is a big opportunity for me," said Maynard, who has been in brilliant form for Glamorgan since taking over as captain this season.

The same goes for newcomers Brown, Irani and Ealham. "I can't believe it," said all-rounder Irani. "I've been selected for England and Eric Cantona hasn't been picked for France!"