Raring to go at the Oval
Posted in England team blog
I’m feeling pretty good going into the deciding Ashes Test at the Brit Oval. It’s a good time for me.
You’ve got to really try and not put too much emphasis on the importance of it. ‘It’s another game of cricket really’ is the best way to go.
I haven’t set any personal targets. The target is to win, but we’ve got to do a lot of things right to get ourselves in that position. It’s more like what I have to do to contribute to the team being successful.
It means a lot to be picked for England. I’ve said a few times how great it was watching in 2005. We would like a win this time, of course, but to stand on the podium with the Ashes would be something really special, something that dreams are made of.
Not playing for England Lions at the weekend was partly my decision. I’d had a lot of cricket and Andy Flower agreed that I could spend one or two days at home and then head down to London.
I felt in pretty good nick so we just made a group decision that it was the best way to go about it.
I feel I’m ready to step up to the top level. The test will be facing a higher quality of bowling than before and the batsmen will be better too than in previous first-class cricket I’ve played.
It’s the best group of players from each country so it’s an honour to be looked at in that light. Hopefully I can prove the selectors right and contribute to the team winning. That’s the focus for this week.
My form goes back to looking at my game a few years ago, particularly at my consistency. When I was younger I felt I would do really well and then it didn’t happen. So I thought ‘why?’ and had a look at things and improved everything to make myself more consistent.
I’ve been working at it for a few years now and this is the next step, to perform consistently for England as well.
Ashley Giles, my coach at Warwickshire, has been a big influence on my career. He came in 2007 and said ‘I think this is what you’ve got to do’. So we put down a few things I needed to improve and the strengths I had to build on those.
I was planning how I could get back in the England team because I was left out after the West Indies series in 2007.
Now I feel I know my game a lot better and I’m a lot more confident in knowing I can perform at this level. I’m feeling really good about that, which we shall see this week, but I certainly believe I can perform here.