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Phil Tufnell

Left-handed former England cricketer Phil Tufnell has been catapulted into the limelight, after winning TV’s "I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here", beating off the challenge of John Fashanu.

The former England left-armer said afterwards in typically laid-back fashion: “I only turned up for a bit of a kip for two weeks.” The finale of I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here brought the show its biggest ever audience with more than 12 million UK viewers tuning in.

Earlier all three remaining contestants had to face their own Bushtucker trial in order to win a fully prepared course for their final meal in camp.

Phil Tufnell had to eat a selection of insects for his trial, Linda Barker had to transfer five eels from one tank to another and John Fashanu had to walk across a log while grabbing hanging stars. The 36-year-old snatched victory from Fashanu, bowling over the majority of the 2.5 million people who voted.

Emerging from the Australian rainforest camp, he gasped: "I can't believe it, that's unbelievable, I can't believe it."

Tufnell was arguably the best spinner of his generation, but courted controversy and was often dropped from games. Tufnell's popular TV appeal has not necessarily been reflected by his poll rating in the Middlesex dressing-room, where the team-mates he left behind by announcing his retirement from first-class cricket last month have all been casting their votes.

Coach John Emburey, who has had to come out of retirement and register himself as a player at the age of 50 to cover Tufnell's sudden departure, revealed : "I think the lads have only been voting for him to keep him up the jungle. Phil has played the jungle game very well and he's come across as a goody two-shoes, but people haven't seen the other side of his character. At his best, there's no question that Tuffers can be a very funny bloke."

"I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Of Here"
This year's participants

ECB chairman David Morgan said: "I can't believe Tufnell's contribution to the programme has done us any harm at all … he has been a good advertisement for left-arm county spinners".

It remains to be seen whether Tufnell prefers playing cricket to eating them, but we will no doubt be seeing much more of him on our TV screens in the coming months, as he has expressed an interest in becoming a sports presenter. Well done Tuffers!



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