ANTHONY McGrath was able to give a big sigh of relief at the weekend when he learned that England had kept faith in him for the NatWest Series of one-day internationals which start up next week against New Zealand and the West Indies.

And McGrath showed yesterday that he is up to the job if given half a chance by taking 2-35 and then hitting an unbeaten 26 as Yorkshire Phoenix beat Worcestershire Royals by six wickets at New Road.

Although McGrath has been in prime form with the bat recently, making his first century of the season in the Championship match against Durham last week, he must have had doubts whether England would pick him after his experiences during the winter.

He went to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka with England and then on to Sri Lanka in the New Year but was not called upon in any of the one-day internationals and had to settle for carrying the drinks.

Now he is hoping that his luck will change and that he gets some opportunities in the NatWest Series to show that he is still worthy of a regular England place.

"I knew it would be a close call because other batsmen around the country have also been scoring runs and I am obviously delighted that England still want me," said McGrath.

"I have felt I've been playing very well this season and I would love to be able to re-establish myself with England by making a big score.

"I have done better in the Championship than in one-day cricket so far but that is partly because I have had fewer opportunities to make a lot of runs going in at number five in limited overs games."

Updated: 11:05 Monday, June 14, 2004