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Nasser Hussain
Cricket Expert & Columnist

Rikki Clarke can add to England caps, says Nasser Hussain

Clarke pleased with Warwickshire move

All-rounder Rikki Clarke does have an England future if he continues to mature as a player, says Nasser Hussain.

Clarke, 31, made the last of his 20 one-day international appearances in 2006 but earlier this month was named in England's 30-man provisional squad for the ICC Champions Trophy after a successful spell at Warwickshire under former coach Ashley Giles, who is now England's limited-overs supremo.

The former Surrey and Derbyshire player averages 34.84 with the bat in first-class cricket for Warwickshire and has also taken 124 wickets at 27.69, and Hussain believes that Clarke is capable of adding to his international caps.

"I think he can," the former England captain said of Clarke, who also has two Test caps to his name. "He has been away with the Lions this winter and he had a fantastic season last season.

"He's the sort of cricketer they are looking for - multi-dimensional. His statistics don't tell you about his fielding. He's a fantastic fielder.

"He has matured. When he first played he went on tour with England for the 2002 Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka. I was captain and if I have to be honest, he was a little bit immature and it did come a little bit too early for him but he's matured a lot.

"He's another one of these Warwickshire guys that has gone away from a county - I think he had to get away from Surrey - to progress.

"He's done very well under Giles in the Warwickshire set-up. The same goes for Varun Chopra and Chris Wright, who both left Essex and are doing fantastically well.

"Clarke has got a very good chance [of representing England again] if he continues to mature. He still does the odd silly thing but I think the dressing room is used to it."

"Clarke is the sort of cricketer England are looking for - multi-dimensional."

Nasser Hussain

Opportunity

Clarke is joined in England's Champions Trophy squad by Somerset duo Jos Buttler and Craig Kieswetter, both of whom have ambitions to be England's first-choice wicketkeeper.

Buttler is the man in possession for England's one-day sides - ahead of current Test keeper Matt Prior - but Somerset want Kieswetter to keep for them in their Championship matches, thereby restricting Buttler to limited overs duties.

Hussain says that Buttler - whose first-class average of 30.94 falls short of Kieswetter's 40.94 - may eventually have to consider leaving Somerset if he wants to further his international claims.

"It's not that difficult a situation because either way it's win-win at the moment," added Hussain.

"Kieswetter will keep [in the Championship] and Buttler will play and when we turn up for a one-dayer Buttler will probably keep and Kieswetter will play - so they are not missing out.

"What will they do? Somerset have a tradition of getting players into the England side. You can go back to Botham, Caddick, Trescothick - and now Compton, Buttler and Kieswetter.

"They get money from the ECB and they have given England players year in, year out. That's their job but they also need to please the members here [at Taunton].

"These two are grown men - they are not kids anymore. If Buttler feels that he wants to keep all year round and he's not getting that opportunity he has to go knocking on doors and say 'that's what I want to do and if you are not going to let me I am going to go somewhere else because I want to be England's one-day wicketkeeper'.

"Adam Wheater couldn't get into the Essex side because of James Foster, so he's moved off to Hampshire. Everyone has to be grown up and mature about it.

"But the bottom line is that England are still looking for a one-day wicketkeeper and they think that Buttler is their man at the moment, but Buttler needs to get some gloves and get on with keeping wicket at some stage."