Stepping up with England

Posted in England team blog

Getting called up to the England one-day squad came totally out of the blue. I was shocked as it hadn't even crossed my mind I might be included.

When you get picked for Lions squads you know you aren't far away, but England have played such good cricket over the last year or so that I didn't really think too much about it.

I was playing for the England Performance Programme in a four-day game in Perth last month when I found out. We were coming off after the final session and DP [ECB Performance Director David Parsons] tapped me on the shoulder and said he'd like a quick word.

He then told me I'd been called up to the one-day squad. I was over the moon. It took a few days to sink in.

When I was 11 or 12 and watching England on TV, I thought playing for my country is a million miles away. It was when I got picked for England U17s and U19s that I thought it might become a possibility.

It's a dream come true but it's only a squad selection and I haven't made my debut. That's the next step. It would be a massive achievement if I did out here given the opposition.

I flew out to Australia on December 28th and spent about a week in Brisbane with Tredders, Wrighty and Yards. We spent the time acclimatising and doing fitness work. It helped get our one-day skills back on track. I'm glad we did as we came straight into some intense sessions. You have to be on the money from ball one.

I have certainly noticed a step up in intensity from what I am used to. Bowling at the likes of KP is quite a challenge, as is facing Tremlett when he's steaming in, but it will make me a better player. It is quite surreal at times though.

Chris Woakes

Net sessions since I arrived in Australia have been really intense but being with the England team will improve me

The Ashes win in Australia was a massive achievement, especially in the fashion they did it in. To be training with them will only help my game. Everyone is fighting for places and the competition is really high. It's a chance for me to shine and show what I am about.

I have had a few words with Andy Flower. We just chatted about cricket and I'm looking forward to working with him. I know what he's expecting from me - high standards across all three forms of the game.

I was really proud to play against the Prime Minister’s XI in Canberra, even if it was a warm-up game. It was great to be out there with the lads that have won the Ashes. I really enjoyed it and just can't wait for more of the action.

I have thought about how I might feel if I get selected to play in one of the Twenty20s or one-dayers. No doubt I'll be nervous, as I was for yesterday's game, but once you get the first couple of balls out the way it's just another game of cricket. You have to put the emotion away.

Being the newest member of the squad it's nice to have a few familiar faces here. It makes you feel at ease a bit more. Obviously I know the two Warwickshire lads, Belly and Trotty, and I have played with Finny through the England age groups and on Lions tours. It was surreal seeing him bowling during those Ashes Tests. I was really pleased for him, especially when he got five-for at Brisbane. The lads have been really welcoming though and I feel settled.

Joining up with England capped a brilliant 2010. I took 50 championship wickets, had a good Lions tour, did well on the EPP tour, then this. I hope 2011 is just as good.

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