James Vince admits he was as surprised as anyone to find himself in the England squad named for this winter’s tour of Australia.
The 26-year-old Hampshire batsman, who played seven Tests in 2016 but has not been selected since after averaging just 19.27, was preferred on the basis that, despite a relatively thin summer in domestic red-ball cricket, his game is better suited to Australian conditions than some of the other candidates for the middle-order slots.
“Until the last few days and reading a couple of articles in the papers I hadn’t really considered it,” he said. “I felt my own red-ball form this season has been a little bit indifferent, although I have played a lot of cricket in April and September when conditions have been a bit tough.
“But I got a call from James Whitaker on Tuesday night and it turned out to be a busy few hours on the phone. My winter was pretty much planned out with Twenty20 stuff so it is a bit of a surprise.”
He concurred with the selectors’ view that his batting style is the kind that can prosper on fast, bouncy Australian pitches.
“When I have played in Australia in the past and more recently in South Africa on a Lions tour I have found that playing with a different ball in different conditions, with more pace but less natural movement than you get here, I have found my game is quite well suited to that and I have done well there so far.
“The wickets are a bit truer and the Kookaburra ball does not do so much or for so long. It is a different test but when I have played in those conditions I have enjoyed batting.”
He said his first taste of Test cricket had been a frustrating experience given how much confidence had been invested in him but says he had enough faith in his ability to believe another opportunity would come his way in time.
“It got me down a little bit in that I was frustrated when I did get to 30 or 40 I didn’t go on and get big scores. If I had managed to convert a couple of those it would have been a different summer and maybe people would have had a different opinion of me.
“But no part of me thought I wasn’t up to playing at that level and having had a taste of it I went away with a hunger to work hard and get back in the side.”