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Experiencing life with England

Posted in Domestic Cricket

A few days ago I spent the day training with the England team at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough as they prepared for the npower Test Series with Pakistan.

I got a call from Dene Hills, the ECB lead batting coach, and he asked me to come up for the day, to be around the squad, see what goes on and spend some time with the players.

It was a great experience and gave me real feeling for what it would be like being with England. These are the players I am aspiring to play with and these are the kind of drills I hope to be doing. It's a good learning experience for me, spending a day in the life of an England cricketer.

I did some intense batting drills with Graham Gooch, who put me under a bit of pressure.

We started on the bowling machine at 75mph from the normal distance, then moved closer until I was about 12 yards away. It was all about getting my hands and feet moving. You have to get in good positions. Instead of running ones and twos between shots, he made me run tens. It was hard work. I guess he wanted to see what I was made of.

Goochie is an England legend. He keeps it simple and that's just what I want. Shot selection is a massive thing for him.

Last weekend I had possibly my best ever game, scoring a hundred and taking four wickets in a Clydesdale Bank 40 game with Warwickshire.

I was chuffed to get the four wickets, especially as I haven't worked too much on my bowling. It might encourage me to work a bit more on that part of my game.

It adds another string to my bow. It's useful to have that but I won't be biting the captain's arm off to get a bowl though. I will bowl when needed but I am no rush to rattle through 20 overs a day.

Eoin Morgan, Graeme Swann, Kevin Pietersen

I spent Tuesday at Loughborough which gave me a feeling for what it would be like to be an England cricketer

I was pleased with my hundred but it was just a shame we could not get over the line and beat them. We can't string to aspects of the game together, which was the story of our Friends Provident t20 campaign.

I feel I am playing quite well. It's always nice to score a hundred in the one-day games. I need to keep churning out runs, not just to help Leicestershire win some matches but to knock on the selectors' door. I'm feeling good at the crease at the moment.

As we now move back to the four-day game, I have to get my head around spending as much time at the crease as possible. The runs will come the longer you stay there.

We have back to back County Championship games against Sussex and Derbyshire. Ideally we want two good results to push us up towards the top of the table.