Determined Davies eyes England berth
Steven Davies can fully understand why he was starved of international action over the winter, but remains focussed on doing all he can to gain a place in England’s team.
The Surrey wicketkeeper-batsman was selected as back-up to Matt Prior for England’s Test assignments in the United Arab Emirates - where they took on Pakistan - and Sri Lanka, having filled the same role on the previous winter’s Ashes tour.
With Prior firmly established as his country’s number one gloveman in Tests, Davies was not called upon for any of the 10 matches that were played in those three series.
Indeed, more than 14 months have passed since the elegant left-hander last represented his country, in a one-day international at Perth, and he has still yet to make his Test bow.
Yet while this understandably provides a source of annoyance for Davies, he is not one to sulk or moan about the situation he currently finds himself in.
Speaking exclusively to ecb.co.uk, he said: “I’ve been on a lot of tours now and not played much cricket. I haven’t played a Test match and I’m just watching on; I can almost taste it.
“It can be pretty frustrating but Matt has done so well so I completely understand the situation I’m in. I just have to work hard and I have to be ready just in case there’s an injury or a dramatic loss of form.
“If something happens where I get my chance, then it’s just a case of trying to take it.”
Davies is still able to reflect positively on his recent time away with England and believes his efforts in the nets were central to him marking his first domestic appearance of the season with a half-century.
His first-innings 62, on a Lord’s surface that proved tricky for batsmen, ultimately came in a losing cause as Middlesex recorded a dramatic three-run victory over Surrey, leaving Davies with mixed emotions.
“I used the Sri Lanka tour like a five-week training camp for the season over here,” he explained.
“I was netting well and I managed to get a few runs in the first game I played here, and I think that was the result of netting so much in Sri Lanka and being in good form, so it worked out pretty well.
“It was nice to play again without a net around me, but unfortunately the result didn’t go our way and the boys were absolutely gutted at the end.”
Having been beaten by such a narrow margin, Surrey will be keen to get back to winning ways when they take on Worcestershire at the Kia Oval in a four-day match starting today.
Davies has particular reason to relish the encounter, having represented Worcestershire for six seasons before agreeing a move to the capital in 2009.
“It’s always nice to see the guys again and compete with them,” he added.
“I’m always checking to see how they are getting on, who’s going well and it’s really nice to see them again when we play against each other.
“I still keep in contact with a few of them, but I’ve also moved on from that and I’m having a great time at Surrey, where I’ve settled in really well.
“It’s going to be a really tough game but we’re going to be ready for it.”
Each game Davies plays also provides him with an opportunity to remind the national selectors of his talent.
“From a personal point of view I want to break back into the England side, whether it’s Test cricket, one-day cricket or Twenty20 cricket,” he said.
“That’s why I play the game. I want to represent my country and for me to do that I have to play well for Surrey, take my catches and score runs.”
Should he do so, his chances of earning that elusive England Test cap can only be enhanced.