Joe Denly said the flexibility to bat at different positions and the hard work he’s put in in recent times have earned him a spot in England’s 16-man Test squad for the tour of Sri Lanka.
“I’ve batted in all positions and I think that’s probably helped my selection,” Denly told SkySports. “I started my career as an opening bat and moved down to No.3; I’ve batted at No.4 as well.
“I think that’s what I’ve got to do; I’ve got to prepare to bat in all those positions and, hopefully, if selected in a game I can take that chance at whatever number that is.”
Denly, 32, who last represented England in a T20I match against Pakistan in 2010, has only featured in nine ODIs and five T20Is for his country since his debut in 2009.
Yesterday was special and today has been incredible. Over the moon to be selected in the test squad! ? So many messages, thank you all. Can not wait to get going!!!!
— Joe Denly (@joed1986) September 21, 2018
He continued to represent his county – Kent – and earned his side a promotion from Division Two after eight years with a brilliant all-round performance. He scored 798 runs, including three hundreds and as many half-centuries, and bagged 20 wickets at 18.90 with his leg-spin. He also had a record of getting a century and a hat-trick in the same match in the T20 Blast.
“It’s been a pretty good couple of days – obviously getting promotion yesterday, up into Division One again, and we had a very successful white-ball campaign as well,” he went on. “Personally it has been a very enjoyable few years and this season is very enjoyable and topped off today with this news. It has been an incredible couple of years.”
Denly was happy with his recent performance for Kent but also was aware of the challenges that await against the island nation.
“I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity I’ve had with the ball this year; I’m very excited to get out there and see what type of wickets we may come up against,” he added.
“But I’m sure that we will be challenged against spin bowling and, hopefully, I can contribute with the ball as well as with the bat.”
The right-hand batsman admitted that he had been fearful that he wouldn’t get an opportunity to represent his country once again, saying: “I suppose I always held on to hoping that the opportunity hadn’t gone and thankfully it hasn’t,” Denly reflected.
Rory Burns, who also was one of the three uncapped players named in the Test squad besides Denly and Olly Stone, said he was “really delighted” to be part of England’s red-ball set-up.
— Surrey Cricket (@surreycricket) September 21, 2018
“There has been a bit of hearsay about me getting called up and I’ve had a lot of questions about it, so it was nice to get the call to put an end to that, stop worrying about it and just get on with my business,” said Burns, who, with 1319 runs at an average of 69.42, is the leading run-scorer in this year’s County Championship.
“I’ve never been to Sri Lanka before so that’ll be something new and I’m looking forward to getting going.”