By Rob Barnett
2013 was an unfortunate year for Stephen Parry, yet he already feels “lucky” in 2014 after being named in England’s squads for the tour of the Caribbean and the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
Some will consider the Lancashire left-arm spinner a left-field selection, although he boasts 63 T20 wickets in 56 games at an impressive average of 22.44. Such figures should stand him in good stead for the one-day and Twenty20 internationals with West Indies and the matches in Bangladesh that follow.
Perhaps the most remarkable element of the 28-year-old’s call-up is that his 2013 season was cut short by a freak injury involving Red Rose head coach Peter Moores and a ‘Sidearm’ cricket ball thrower in the Northampton nets last July.
Giving his first interview after his selection was announced, Parry recalled the events for ecb.co.uk from his winter base in Perth.
“It was just me and Moorsey halfway through the Northants game - I was 12th man and we just went for a hit with the dog-chucker and he got one wrong and it was flat. It hit me clean in the forearm and snapped it, a straight snap,” he said.
“I was thinking of not coming out to Perth this year, but as I missed the rest of the season I thought it was really important to just get out and play some cricket and get back into it.
“I’ve just enjoyed playing cricket and seeing how my arm goes, but it’s reacted really well and now I’m fully fit and everything’s brilliant. I’m really, really glad I came out now.”
Parry recovered from the blow to play three second XI matches in September and Lancashire’s last LV= County Championship contest.
He has since been representing Midland-Guildford in Perth for a second winter, but will soon fly to the West Indies to link up with skipper Stuart Broad’s squad.
From Western Australia, the gregarious Mancunian had to keep news of his call-up largely to himself after speaking to the ECB’s new National Selector.
“I got the phone call off James Whitaker and it’s been a long 24 hours because I just wanted to scream it out, but I managed to hold myself in,” Parry explained.
“I told close family and my wife. It’s been a very nice time because it’s something you’re always trying to work towards. Not everyone’s lucky enough to put that shirt on but it looks like I’ve got a great chance of doing that now, a fantastic chance. I’m very proud at the moment. I feel like I’m eight foot, not six foot.”
Parry had little expectation of ending this winter with England, not least because he missed his inclusion in the preliminary party for the World T20 during mid-January.
“I didn’t even realise the 30-man squad (had been named) because I’d just seen that the Twenty20 squad was announced for over here against Australia and I thought that’s got to be going to the West Indies - there aren’t going to be any changes,” he admitted.
“But just before the three T20s, I was doing some cricket training and I finished and I looked at my phone and I had five missed calls off my dad and I thought ‘Oh my God; I hope everything’s okay’.
“But he said ‘you do know you’re on the news, dont you?’ and I said ‘what for?’. He said ‘you’re in the 30-man squad’ and I thought ‘that’s amazing’.”
Parry is optimistic of his bowling prospects on the generally slow and low-bouncing pitches of the Caribbean and Bangladesh, having previously performed well in India.
“Over there you know you could get a little bit of help and I think my style of bowling should suit it,” he added.
“I had success when I was over there with the Performance Programme so I’m quietly confident that I’ll bowl really well.”