Chris Read was as shocked as anyone to win back the gloves for England for the third Test against Pakistan. Wicketkeeper Read, aged 27, plays at Headingley on Friday more than two years after Geraint Jones, the rival he has now ousted, displaced him in the national side.

It is his third life as an international cricketer, having first been called up in 1999 and recalled upon Alec Stewart's retirement four years later.

An inability to assert himself with the bat at the highest level eventually cost him his place, exactly the same failing which has led to Jones' demise.

"I was pretty surprised but delighted," admitted Read, whose hundred for England A against the Pakistanis last month increased the pressure for the number seven spot.

"At the beginning of the season my first thought was nowhere near international cricket, it was just trying to replicate what I did with Nottinghamshire last year.

"Since that match at Canterbury I have had half an eye on this winter, which is a phenomenal winter to be involved in an Ashes tour away and a World Cup is the stuff of dreams really.

"But it was a surprise because after someone has played 31 consecutive Tests they are part of the furniture, a little bit.

"Okay, Geraint hadn't scored the amount of runs the selectors demanded but they stuck with him and supported him for a long time and I didn't necessarily see any change coming midway through a series, particularly after a victory."

History has repeated itself in that regard as Jones was handed his debut in the Caribbean after England opened up an unassailable 3-0 lead and a first away series win over West Indies since the 1960s.

England have not shied away from ruthless decisions in selection over the past few years, in fact, and Read suffered for his lack of significant contributions.

Suspicions also lingered that he lacked a mean streak, a theory blown away perhaps by his fiery exchange with Sussex's Mushtaq Ahmed earlier this season which resulted in a reprimand from Lord's.

"I am portrayed in a certain way and my Nottinghamshire team-mates, who have known me for eight years, would no doubt rubbish everything that is said about me and tell you I am totally different," said Read.

"Maybe a few people changed their viewpoint on my personality.

"In the past people might have said 'he doesn't care' or 'he's too mild-mannered' or whatever.

"I don't think I have ever been like that but what people see and say is their own opinion.

"I regret what I did because it was wrong, I felt strongly about something but I went about dealing with it in the wrong way," added Read on the incident with Mushtaq.

Although he has three first-class hundreds for Nottinghamshire in 2006, he goes into his 12th Test with an average of just 15.3 and his batting to date is best remembered for an embarrassing dismissal to Kiwi Chris Cairns at Lord's when he lost a looping delivery which bowled him.

"As far as I am concerned I have got to score runs to prove those guys who say I cannot succeed at international level wrong," added Read. "My average is under 16 in Test cricket and that is not what they picked me for back in 1999 or 2003 and certainly not now.

"The general public probably remember me ducking Chris Cairns' slower ball in my second Test but I would like to think the cricketing public see me as a talented gloveman who probably needs to prove himself with the bat.

"There is always a certain amount of scrutiny and it is quite a high-profile position and a high-profile time for me to be reinstated into the job."

Read now appears to have two Tests to steal a march on Jones ahead of the Ashes campaign, which begins in Brisbane on November 23.

"He was only one knock away and if he had gone out and scored a hundred at Old Trafford I wouldn't be sat here now," added Read.

"Geraint and I have always got on exceptionally well and always speak on a very personable level so I don't think there has ever been any animosity towards either of us by one another.

"But you have to look after your own role and secure it as best you can."