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Spinner staying at Essex

Spinner sets sights on England

Middlebrook: International hopes

Essex have handed experienced spinner James Middlebrook a two-year contract extension.

The 30-year-old has become a key player for the county since arriving from Yorkshire in 2002, contributing over 3,000 first-class runs as well as taking 220 wickets.

"I'm delighted to have signed a new two-year deal at Essex," he told the club's website, essexcricket.org.uk.

"I feel I am at the peak of my career, playing good cricket, so Essex have rewarded me with a two-year contract."

International honours

With his long-term future now sorted, Middlebrook has set his sights on international recognition.

The off-spinner admits he wants to follow team-mates Ravi Bopara and Alastair Cook into England's one-day squad.

He has helped Essex win the domestic one-day league for the past two seasons and also has the ability to be used as a pinch hitter up the order.

"Over the last few years I've had my sights on making the (England) one-day side," he said.

"People like Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara have already made their one-day mark for England so I need to continue to put in the hard work for Essex.

"I feel that I have put in the performances as a spin-bowler and have also been given a few opportunities as a pinch-hitter recently.

"If I can get more runs then I feel I can make myself into an all-rounder for England."