When Liam Dawson was asked about whether he could fight his way on to the England Performance Programme at Hampshire’s pre-season media day 12 months ago, the spin-bowling all-rounder was bullish about his credentials.
“Yeah, I’d love to,” he told ecb.co.uk. “Over the last few years I’ve played fairly well, so as long as I keep improving.
“In one-day cricket I’d back myself against anyone, so if I keep putting in consistent performances, who knows where it will take me?”
The answer, it transpires, was India for the ICC World Twenty20 via two impressive stints with England Lions in Dubai.
An experienced campaigner at domestic level, having played in the last five T20 Finals Days with Hampshire, a winter with the EPP seemed a long way off when Dawson lost his place at the Ageas Bowl and was sent out on loan to Essex.
But having rediscovered his form at Chelmsford, the 26-year-old returned to his parent club and played an important part in maintaining their Division One status in the Specsavers County Championship and reaching a sixth successive Finals Day.
Several strong showings with both bat and ball against Pakistan A in the 50-over and 20-over series either side of Christmas prompted Trevor Bayliss to take a punt on Dawson as his third spinner, and the slow left-arm bowler hopes to be given a chance to impress on the sub-continent.
“I wouldn’t have expected to be here now, but I’m really excited,” Dawson told the media after flying out to Mumbai.
“I’ve always known I could do it and the way I finished the season gave me a lot of confidence.
“I’m a three-dimensional cricketer: I bat, bowl and field well and that’s what I can bring to the team.
“I’ve played lot of cricket for someone my age and I’ve played in Finals Days for Hampshire so I hope that stands me in good stead if I am to play.
“You’re going to be nervous, obviously, because it could be my debut at some point but if I can do what I’ve been doing for Hampshire hopefully it will be all right.”
Off to India tonight. A dream come true to be going to a World Cup pic.twitter.com/i15m9ZjfRS
— liam dawson (@daws128) March 7, 2016