“So, have you been called up to the World Cup squad?”
“No. Nothing yet. Hopefully. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
This is the sound of a player whose dream has come true at the eleventh hour, just when he thought it would pass him by, but who is still forbidden to talk about it.
What the words don’t convey is the joy in Liam Dawson’s voice, the sound almost certainly emanating from a grin resembling the dimensions of the media centre at Lord’s. The carefree tone belied the awkwardness of juggling a phone interview (about a Lord’s final in which he now probably won’t play), between being bumped up the order for Hampshire (he was bowled for 25 by Nottinghamshire’s Luke Fletcher), and another rather important phone call from England’s national selector, Ed Smith. The upshot of which is that Dawson has a rather different Lord’s final in his sights now.
Dawson started the day as one of the faces – or rather voices – of Saturday’s Royal London One-Day Cup final between defending champions Hampshire and Somerset. He ended it as a late inclusion for England’s World Cup campaign, having not been named in the initial squad and having played the last of his three ODIs seven months ago.
It was Dawson’s Royal London Cup form which earned him a recall for England, having sustained a side strain on the ODI tour of Sri Lanka last October which opened the door for Joe Denly.
But, with the Denly experiment now over – he was tried as a back-up spin and middle-order batting option against Ireland and Pakistan – Dawson was called up off the back of his 18 wickets for Hampshire at 20.33 and 274 runs at 45.66, including a 90-ball century against Surrey late last month.
His recent form, he could talk about.
“It’s gone well,” Dawson told ESPNcricinfo. “I’d like to think it’s been a good start to the season for me. Nice to contribute to winning games, very happy with that.
“I’m a year older and a year more experienced, I’ve played a lot of cricket over the winter, a bit of franchise cricket. It’s always good to put yourself in those pressure situations. Playing all through the winter, I think it stands you in good stead.”
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Hampshire were already without captain and opener James Vince on the opening day of their County Championship clash with Nottinghamshire, as he was already part of England’s warm-up series ahead of being confirmed in the World Cup squad. Dawson moved up the order from No. 6 to No.5 at Newclose, on the Isle of Wight, but that didn’t bother him at all.
“I’ve batted in a lot of places, it’s a role that I’m happy with, to bat anywhere for the team,” Dawson said. “That’s the beauty of being an allrounder, I can be rather versatile.”
Dawson’s versatility was not lost on the England selectors, including coach Trevor Bayliss, who said earlier this month that he remained in the frame for a place in the World Cup, starting on May 30. But for all the chatter, Dawson said he did not have a return to the England side on his mind while playing for his county this season.
“Not really, not at all,” he said. “I’m 29 years old now. I just want to enjoy my cricket. If international cricket comes, then brilliant, it’s good to be involved. If not, I’m going to enjoy trying to win games for Hampshire.
“Sometimes you can worry too much about what ifs, and the older you get, the more you learn to live in the present and not waste time on worrying about what’s going on, what could happen. That comes with experience.”
As they are essentially back-up players for the World Cup – Dawson to the spinners Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid and Vince to the top-order batsmen – the Hampshire duo may not see any Lord’s final action with England, should the tournament favourites make it that far.
And while Dawson said “it would mean the world” to win another Royal London One-Day Cup, it appears unlikely that he or Vince will take part in that final, based on ICC regulations stating that once players have been selected for the World Cup they cannot play in other competitions. Hampshire are challenging the rule, however, in the hope of having two of their strongest contributors this season available for when they take on Somerset in this Saturday’s showdown.
The Royal London One-Day Cup will be the first piece of silverware to be won at Lord’s during this historic year of cricket. To see defending champions Hampshire take on Somerset for the final staging of the competition at Lord’s, visit lords.org/tickets
Article source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/1184997.html?CMP=OTC-RSS