By Dave Clark
Steven Davies believes 2014 can be the year he reignites his international career.
The Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman played 13 limited-overs games for England between 2009 and 2011, and regularly toured with the Test side as Matt Prior’s understudy.
The 27-year-old made 67 in Surrey’s defeat to Glamorgan in their LV=County Championship Division Two opener following relegation last term, and now hopes to catch the England selectors’ eyes with the runs that bring top-flight cricket back to the Kia Oval.
“I play cricket because I want to play for England,” Davies told ecb.co.uk. “All the time that I’m not there I am really disappointed but I feel that this year there is a great opportunity for me to get back in the side.
“I toured with England for a number of years and honestly I felt like I was never going to play unless there was an injury, whereas now I feel a lot differently – I think that position is up for grabs. So if I start well, score lots of runs, keep well, then I’ll be in the selectors’ minds.
“It’s not something that I’m too worried about - I’m enjoying my cricket at Surrey and if England selection comes around then great.
“I feel really good; I had a bit of a break before Christmas, got away from cricket, had a bit of a holiday and I started training again at Christmas time and ever since then I’ve been feeling pretty good.
“All the boys are buzzing for the New Year and I guess our goal as a team is to get back into Division One.”
Asked about the reasons for Surrey finishing bottom of Division One last season, Davies pulled few punches in his assessment of a difficult campaign.
“The bottom line is we didn’t play well enough,” he added. “First division cricket is tough cricket - it’s a really good standard.
“You can play really well for four sessions, have a bad half an hour, and the game’s gone. And it’s hard to get back into the game.
“If you’re playing catch-up all the time, which I felt we were – I don’t think we started games well – it’s always too hard to get back into the game.
“We weren’t good enough last year and we need to put that right and we need to get back into the first division; one-hundred per cent our aim is to get back into division one.
“It’s where Surrey belongs in my opinion and we all want to be playing the best cricket and that’s where it’s at.
“There are a lot of good teams and we have to work really hard and not get frustrated if results don’t go our way.
“It is a long season and the Division Two title can be won in the last five games. If we can play consistent cricket I think we’ve got enough talent to really push and take the title.”