Napier finally earns his England chance

ATHERE was further good news for Essex this week, with Graham Napier and James Foster joining Ravi Bopara in the England ICC Twenty20 squad,writes MIKE SIMMONDS. Both Napier and Foster have been excellent for Essex in the domestic competition, with the al

ATHERE was further good news for Essex this week, with Graham Napier and James Foster joining Ravi Bopara in the England ICC Twenty20 squad,writes MIKE SIMMONDS.

Both Napier and Foster have been excellent for Essex in the domestic competition, with the all-rounder making a stunnning 152 from just 58 balls in last season's Twenty20, and that has finally gained the duo international recognition.

A delighted Napier said: "AIt is a sportsman's clich�, but I am absolutely over the moon at making the squad.

"When I heard the news from the selectors I was absolutely thrilled.


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"Ever since then I have been thinking about the progress that has been made in the past year.

"I am, at this moment, only in the squad of 15.

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"I am looking forward to meeting with the squad and getting used to the set-up.

"It is a new thing for me to get into, but obviously I know most of the players.

"With the likes of Ravi (Ravi Bopara) and James (Foster) alongside me I could not have asked for any more.

"Often when you are out there you may not know anyone on a really good level.

"But I have two automatic friends that I have known for a long time right alongside me."

Napier's glorious Twenty20 form last year earned him a call-up to the lucrative Indian Premier League as he was signed up by the Mumbai Indians.

Although he only made one appearance, the 29-year-old felt it was still a worthwhile experience.

"The tournament has been going from strength to strength and more and more people are going to the games," he said.

"It was a shame I did not get more time playing, but it was certainly an experience."

With the ICC World Twenty20 not starting until June, Napier will now spend the next month with his county, and is hoping to help improve on a mixed start to the campaign so far.

"With back-to-back one-day games and key LV County Championship games, this is now the main part of the season.

"It is going to be a tough time, but if we continue the form we are currently in we are set for success.

"I have been watching the Essex guys over the internet whilst in South Africa and it looks like we have been putting in some good performances.

"I hope we can now progress to the knockout stages of The Friends Provident Trophy."

Meanwhile, the Essex chief executive, David East, was thrilled with the selection of the trio from Chelmsford and hopes they will do the county proud.

"We are obviously delighted that Ravi, Graham and James have been recognised for their fantastic performances in Twenty20 Cricket for Essex.

"We are sure that they will make a major contribution to the England team in the World Twenty20 competition.

"Our congratulations also go out to Ravi for his selection in the one-day squad to play the West Indies later in the season.

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