Davies in England's thoughts
Steve Davies has been mentioned as a future England wicketkeeper for so long it almost came as an anti-climax when he was finally called into the senior squad for the first time.
Ever since the 22-year-old Worcestershire 'keeper-batsman first burst onto the county scene in 2005, seasoned judges have earmarked him to fill the problem position behind the stumps for England.
Davies’ glovework has long brought admiring glances, but it his ability with the bat which has persuaded the selectors they may have found someone who can fill the void created by Alec Stewart’s retirement in 2003.
It has not been until this year, however, that the selectors were willing to take a gamble on Davies after their attempts to thrust Chris Read and Geraint Jones forward as Stewart’s replacement.
He was called into the one-day squad, perhaps to give England another option as an opener, but before then he also flew out for the fourth Test in Barbados as cover for Tim Ambrose when Matt Prior went home to see his newborn son.
“It’s obviously nice to hear people talking about you, but until you get that call-up it means nothing, really,” said Davies, who first came to the selectors’ notice by finishing above Graeme Hick in the Worcestershire batting averages in his first season four years ago.
“I’ve worked hard at Worcester, I’ve been doing all the right things and now I’ve got that call I’m absolutely delighted. I just want to work as hard as possible and put pressure on.”
Davies is fortunate that he has a ready-made mentor at New Road to turn to for advice about the demands of scoring runs and keeping wicket, now the minimum requirement at the top level, in former England keeper Steve Rhodes.
Appointed Worcestershire coach several years ago, Rhodes has been a big influence on Davies’ development and his protege will still be consulting him if he gets into difficulty with England this winter.
“I’ve worked with him since I was 11,” explained Davies. “It’s always nice to have him there for any advice I need when things aren’t going so well and even when things are going well.
“He’s a really good guy to talk to and I’m lucky to have him to work with at Worcester.”