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I've got it in me - Moore

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Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore, today named in the England Performance Programme squad, sees a place in the Test side as the next step in his career

Stephen Moore today took the next step towards playing for England - and insisted there is not a trace of doubt in his mind that he will succeed when he finally gets there.

Lancashire’s new signing was one of four category A players named in the revamped England Performance Programme squad in South Africa this winter, alongside Michael Carberry, Mark Davies and Amjad Khan.

Described by the ECB as “those perceived to be closest to graduating into the England team”, Moore and company are effectively on standby should the senior squad require a replacement during their tour of South Africa.

Opener Moore, who will be based in South Africa and work under the guidance of performance director David Parsons, is unswerving in his belief that he will succeed if he gets the nod to join the Test side.

“I believe I’m ready to step up to the next level,” he told ecb.co.uk. “I’m 100% confident that I have got it in me.

“It’s fantastic to be in and around the squad at the next level, and the more people you have got putting pressure on the England side, the better it is for English cricket. I’m thankful that I'm one of those guys."

Moore’s conviction stems largely from a hugely successful season for Worcestershire last year - he was the leading scorer in first-class cricket with 1,451 runs at an average of 55.80 - and a fine 120 against the Australians while on England Lions duty this summer.

Although Moore, who turns 29 shortly before he flies out next month, failed to reproduce his 2008 feats this season, he argues that his performance in that tour match at Worcester was just as important in terms of his development.

Stephen Moore

Moore took great confidence from the century he scored for England Lions against the Australians this summer

“Getting a hundred against Australia was a big thing,” he said. “You have to believe you have the ability to do it, but you start with a blank page and every time you do something you can say, ‘This is what I’m able to do’.

“I love playing cricket, and there’s no point playing unless you want to be the best you can be. I love challenging myself to be better. I hope and always want to keep improving.

“There’s nothing better than practising hard, working hard and going out against a bowler who has done the same - taking them on at their own skill. More often than not you will learn something.”

Moore’s desire to better himself was evident last week when he left Worcestershire, recently relegated to the Second Division of the LV= County Championship, to join First Division Lancashire.

It ended his seven-season stay at New Road, a place for which Moore holds fond memories, but the decision was based solely on cricketing reasons.

“I believe First Division bowling attacks are better than Second Division bowling attacks, and if I was playing international cricket I would want to go into that match having faced the best bowlers I could.

“That’s why I had it written into my contract that I could leave early if we were relegated.”

For Moore, this winter’s trip represents a return to the country of his birth, and his emergence is sure to draw comparisons with Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott, two members of England’s touring party who were also born in South Africa.

“I will always have Africa in my blood, and I love the country,” Moore said. “I moved over when I was 18, so I’ve spent a third of my life in England.

“Both my parents are English and most of my friends are English. This is where my future lies and I want to do everything I can to be successful for England.”