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Posted in England Lions

I had a great week in Derby with England Lions. We beat Bangladesh, I got some wickets and the England selectors were there.

The Lions games are always a big opportunity, this one even more so - a real chance to push for that England spot.

It is also a great chance to dent the confidence of the touring side. As England's second team we want to undermine them ahead of the Test and I think we well and truly did that.

A few of the lads have really put their hands up for future selection. Andrew Gale played a magnificent knock in our first innings, keeping up the ginger power in the team.

Steve Davies also batted superbly and took eight catches in the match. We could not have reached 296 if it wasn't for those two, especially after we were 147 for five.

The younger bowlers in the team really impressed me as well. Both Chris Woakes and James Harris have big futures.

Woakesy already puts the ball in great areas and will get quicker and stronger as he gets older.

Harry really has got a great temperament too. He has an old head on young shoulders.
They are like bowling machines - just program them and off they go, hardly bowling a bad ball. We have some excellent fast bowlers coming through which really bodes well for the future.

Liam Plunkett bowled really well as well. I think he should be on the plane Down Under if he keeps bowling like that. He is the sort of bloke you want to see do well. I roomed with him - he is as mad as a cut snake - hence we got on very well.

I really loved being involved with the Lions. My first three overs went all over the park - it was looking like I might need a wheelbarrow to carry my figures home after Tamim Iqbal got hold of me. He is a serious player to bowl at. He plays the same in Test cricket as he does in Twenty20 cricket.

I thought I did well though when I came back. I took three good, aggressive wickets. I was ‘Captain Dragback Extraordinaire’ to repair my figures. It would have been great to take a five-for but Ravi bowled magnificently and nicked all the lower order wickets.

Tamim Iqbal

I hatched a genius plan to get Tamim Iqbal caught on the boundary but Galey got it all wrong and it went for six

I got my revenge on Tamim in the second innings. My first ball we decided to put Galey at deep point as Tamim just licks it - it was a protection field placing, not a wicket taking one - but it was almost a stroke of genius. I bowled a wide ball and Tamim smashed it straight to Galey at deep point but Teflon hands palmed it over the boundary for six.

That’s the second time my first ball in a four-day game has gone for six. The other time was MS Dhoni when I was playing for the Lions in India in 2005. My first over went for 24 and he was eventually out for 47 in only the fourth over, caught deep point.

I eventually got Tamim a few balls later when he top edged a hook to Stevie D. I can’t tell you how pleased I was to see the back of him. He is a big wicket.

I thought I bowled well in this match. I was quick and aggressive and I hope the selectors liked what they saw.

For me this was stage one of trying to make a dream come true which is to play in an Ashes Boxing Day Test.

If they are looking for someone with experience then I could be that option. One thing is definitely for sure - I wouldn’t let them down.

There are some fantastic bowlers in England at the moment but I’m loving the challenge of trying to get ahead of the pack. I know that can only happen if I carry on taking wickets for Gloucestershire.

That dream of a Boxing Day Test is the fire inside and it is burning more then ever.

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