Joyce dazed and enthused
Ed Joyce hopes the long flight to Australia will give him enough time to emerge from a state of shock after being called into England’s Ashes squad.
The Middlesex batsman jets out on Wednesday to replace Marcus Trescothick, who was forced home with a recurrence of a stress-related illness.
But Joyce, 28, claimed that, 24 hours since being told of his promotion, he had yet to fully come to terms with his participation in “the biggest tour a cricketer can go on”.
Until being elevated to the senior squad, Joyce was due to spend five weeks with the England Academy in Perth.
“I found out yesterday when I was out buying a loaf of bread,” Joyce told ecb.co.uk.
“David Graveney, the chairman of selectors, left a message on my phone, but I thought it would just be one to all the Academy guys, saying ‘good luck’.
“But when I heard it, it was one of those moments when I just sat with my mouth open.
“I couldn’t believe it - I’m still in a bit of a daze actually - but hopefully when I get out there it will all have sunk in and I’ll be all right.”
Joyce flies out with the Academy, as planned, but instead of catching a connecting flight to Perth with what is effectively a standby squad, he will head to Adelaide to join the senior party.
Though he acknowledges that playing in Australia is the toughest test for any cricketer, he is confident he can cope with the step up in class.
“I didn’t really expect to get a call this soon and there are a few nerves there, but I’ve been playing cricket for a few years now so I’m used to it,” added Joyce, who made his one-day international debut for England only this summer.
It’s the Ashes - the biggest tour you can go on - and there’s nothing like it in terms of pressure.
“That pressure is compounded by the fact that we won the Ashes last year. The Aussies want them back, and if I can play a part in regaining them then I’ll be happy.
“I’m looking at it as being in the 16-man squad. I know I’m the back-up player but I’m approaching it as if I’m going to play.”
Joyce can also draw on his experience of playing alongside Australian Test players Justin Langer and Glenn McGrath, both of whom enjoyed spells as overseas players at Middlesex and are set to line up against England in the first Test, which starts on Novemeber 23.
“It helps that I know a few players,” he said. “I know Glenn and Justin from when they were at Middlesex, and I faced McGrath in the nets a few times when he was there.
“That probably humanises them a little bit, which can’t do any harm. Hopefully that means it won’t be a completely alien environment when I get to Australia.”