Up-and-coming paceman Tymal Mills has half an eye on an England spot, even if he knows it may take a while to come.
The left-armer impressed when working as a net bowler during the early part of his country’s Ashes preparations.
He notably gave skipper Alastair Cook a nasty bruise on his arm, having been brought in alongside Harry Gurney to prepare the touring batsmen for Mitchell Johnson.
Thereafter, Mills joined up with the England Performance Programme, claiming seven wickets over two games.
He will now tour Sri Lanka with the Lions and cannot help but think about fulfilling his dream of a Test place.
“You never know who is going to be watching,” he told ecb.co.uk. “All you can do is your best but I am looking pretty short-term.
“I obviously have this tour coming up and then the season with Essex and I need to have some good performances with them.
“I probably haven’t been as good as what I would have liked over the last couple of years in championship cricket so those are my first two ports of call.
“We all aspire to (play for England). Hopefully one day I will be able to live that out.”
Speaking about his time with the Ashes party, he added: “It was great for myself and Harry Gurney to get out there and help the guys out. It was great to see how they go about things.
“It was good for them to get a look at us both on and off the field. I really enjoyed my time. I like to think I take most things in my stride; I knew most of the guys in the squad anyway.
“I had never been to Australia before, especially in an Ashes series, so it was really nice and a good experience to see what it was all about. Hopefully my day will come in future.”
He certainly caught the eye of the captain, his Essex team-mate Cook.
Mills revealed: “I knew I hit Cooky but he didn’t really flinch or anything. Then a few days later, I saw him with his top off and saw the bruise.
“I quickly apologised but I don’t think that there were any hard feeling thankfully. I was happy with how I bowled and glad to put it into some games with the Performance Programme.”
If Mills is to force his way into the selectors’ thinking, excelling in the differing conditions of Sri Lanka would be a good way to start.
He said: “The bowlers have had a good sit down about how we are going to go about our business out there. You have got to be very disciplined but we have to believe we can take wickets.
“You cannot just leave it to the spinners and we think there will be wickets out there to be taken by the seamers.
“I have been to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh so I have a little bit of experience (of the sub-continent) and obviously I will be able to call upon that when I get out there.
“I think that I am a better bowler now than I was then so hopefully I will go well.”