Roland-Jones excited by EPP potential
Toby Roland-Jones is relishing the prospect of being on the “pathway” that is the England Performance Programme.
The seamer was one of the stars of the LV= County Championship this year, claiming 61 wickets in Division One at an outstanding average of 19.13.
Roland-Jones’ form for Middlesex earned a place in the England set-up for the first time - something he hopes represents the first step to full international honours.
He told ecb.co.uk: “It's definitely exciting. To be in the presence of a lot of youngsters I’ve seen progress, looked up to and aimed to emulate their progress is nice.
“It’s an exciting time really. It’s set up as a pathway; obviously it requires a lot of hard work and progress but seeing those lads progress gives you the inspiration to really work hard and hopefully one day emulate their successes.”
While not looking to the future is impossible, Roland-Jones is aware of the importance of living in the moment and eagerly awaits the challenge of a training camp in India for which the EPP squad depart today.
“I went to Chennai last winter for 16 days and really enjoyed it,” he added. “It is somewhere different and it is always nice to play in different conditions and test your skills.
“It did definitely benefit me and it is something I'll be looking to get the most out of.”
Speaking about the prospect of trying to gain a place on England Lions’ trip to Australia early next year, Roland-Jones said: “The Australia tour is the aim, but obviously it's going to be hard.”
While aims with the EPP are dominating the thoughts of Roland-Jones at the moment, he is also looking to develop his batting and become a genuine all-rounder.
“It's definitely something I am focussed on,” he said. “It is always important to try and improve your game and obviously my batting has come on a decent amount since I joined Middlesex.
“But I still feel like there is a lot more to give and hopefully I can turn myself in to a number eight and, in the future, even a number seven to be a proper all-rounder.
“That is the way cricket is going these days. Every bowler is being looked at as someone who can contribute more and more in the modern game.”
Adding another string to his bow will only help Roland-Jones if he is to achieve the ultimate goal of playing for England - though he is aware of his place in the pecking order.
He said: “I think I am in quite a big queue. It's a case of continued success and I've only played sort of two seasons with the games I have played. If I can look to continue what I am doing then maybe I can get a little closer.”