Paul was one of a crop of wicket-keeping batsmen who came along at the wrong time for an international career. His path into the England team was blocked by Jack Russell and especially Alec Stewart as the team tried to find an allrounder.
His only taste of international cricket came when he was selected as Alec Stewart’s understudy on the 2000-01 tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka. However, despite his lack of chances to prove himself for his country he was a fine servant in county cricket for Leicestershire, where he helped them to their two Championship titles in 1996 and 1998, before joining Kent from 2000 until 2002, where he also became a popular player and helped improve their one-day cricket. He then returned to Leicestershire in 2003 and slotted straight back into their team ethos.
His role in Twenty20 cricket was crucial and he was one of the best players of the reverse sweep in the county game. He was surprisingly drafted into the England one-day side in Australia in 2006-07 and did well enough to hold on to his place for the World Cup immediately afterwards.
He was then named in England’s 25-man development squad and it appeared he was heading for a Test debut at 36, but was overlooked for Matt Prior. Superbly fit and motivated, he remained an important part of Leicestershire’s set-up until his retirement from cricket in 2011.
He now speaks about his career in game on the after dinner circuit.
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