Giles fit and ready for challenge

Ashley Giles

Left-arm spinner Ashley Giles was an integral part of the 2005 summer Ashes-winning squad

Ashley Giles is well on his way to recovering from the hip problem which has plagued him since the end of last summer’s Ashes series and kept him out of cricket for the entire 2006 season.

Giles had operations on his hip and his groin before the problem was finally diagnosed and he admits that it has been frustrating sitting on the sidelines.

“It’s never easy to sit at home and watch,” he told ECBtv. “It is frustrating. You want to be playing, not watching. You want the team to do well, but at the same time you want to be out there. It’s tough.”

Monty Panesar has come into the Test side and taken on the spinner’s mantle, taking 32 wickets in 10 matches and winning the nation’s hearts.

Jamie Dalrymple and Michael Yardy have also impressed in the one-day side this summer, giving Giles plenty to think about.

“That does give me the edge, it makes you want it even more when you see guys out there doing your job, but it makes you come back stronger,” the 33-year-old said.

Monty Panesar

Monty Panesar has been an instant success in the England Test squad this last summer

“In the summer, when I was thinking about coming back, that was one of my aims - to see off the competition - and also to work with them. When you are on tour, you are working to common goals, particularly with the Ashes coming up this winter.”

“I think part of my role in the dressing room, as one of the more experienced guys, is to help the younger ones. If I could do that, be a good role model and pass on some good advice, then that is a good thing to do on this tour.”

Giles has been taken to India with the Champions Trophy squad in order to get some match practise and be in and around the England set-up. He is very grateful for the chance to be included and play some cricket after a long lay-off.

“If we didn’t have this trip to India then I would probably have had to look elsewhere,” he said.

“Going away on your own and playing for a club abroad is always very difficult because it is an environment you are not always used to.

“India, for me, is mainly about spectating the cricket the team are going to play. But I’m training every day, having a bat and a bowl and getting as much cricket under my belt as I can in readiness for the Ashes tour.”

“I hope at the end of this trip I will be good and ready to play in Australia. We are confident the body will come through it.

“I’m strong and fit and ready for the challenge.”

Ashley Giles

Giles has been undergoing several fitness tests and physiotherapy © Getty Images

Giles hasn’t played competitive cricket since November 20 last year in the second Test against Pakistan in Faisalabad and he is looking forward to getting back on the pitch after several months of training.

“My fitness has really come on in the last couple of weeks, particularly,” he said.

“I’ve worked really hard over the last year to get where I am. I’ve had a lot of rehab so it has taken a bit of time, but we are at last nearing the light at the end of the tunnel and looking forward to playing cricket again.

“Just being outside certainly helps,” he commented. “Bowling on grass wickets, and on wickets that will probably help me as well. India is very good for that. There’s always a lot of people keen to have a bowl at you in the nets and a lot of our guys keen to have a bat against you.

“Beyond everything else, it is good to be back with the side,” he added.

But Giles’ eyes are now firmly focused on helping England to retain the Ashes come November 23.

“There is no bigger incentive than an Ashes trip,” he admitted. “That has always been my aim.

“A lot of people doubted whether I’d be fit enough and whether I’d get enough cricket in. But I’m confident, I’m in good shape and ready to take that challenge on.

“In many ways, people telling me the things I can’t do means I am going to enjoy proving them wrong.”

You can watch the exclusive video interview with Ashley Giles in full on ECBtv now.