Liam Dawson acknowledged that being on the fringes with England can be “frustrating”, although he enjoys staying in the setup after playing his first cap since October 2018 in Barbados.
With Liam Livingstone depressed by an illness unrelated to Covid, Dawson got a rare chance in the first of five Twenty20 at Kensington Oval against the West Indies as they defeated England by nine wickets on Saturday night.
Dawson made just two from nine balls before being left without England as England were sent off for a measly 103 in 19.4 overs in front of a Covid-reduced crowd at Bridgetown.
But the all-rounder was miserly with his left-arm spin, conceding just 12 runs in four overs, and was unlucky enough not to break into the home team’s batting.
Since Dawson last played for England, he has won an over-50 World Cup winner’s medal in 2019 as an unused squad member and has been regularly involved in white-ball parties without being needed.
He is phlegmatic about how his international career has developed, this was only his 13th appearance in all formats since his debut in July 2016, with England possessing enviable reserves in his batting while Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid are the Preferred cue ball spinners. .
“I think you are very lucky to be in any England team at any point in your career,” he said. “You know it’s never a given, so being in the team is always brilliant.
“You are potentially only one injury away from playing. It’s frustrating at times, but you think back on it, you train as hard as you can, and hopefully you get a chance at some point.
“It just shows how strong England have been at cue-ball cricket, especially with Mo (Moeen Ali) and Rash (Adil Rashid) too. I am very happy to have an opportunity here.
“Obviously it’s been a while, but it’s great to have another chance. I have really enjoyed it.”
Brandon King’s undefeated 52 on 49 balls underpinned a restrained chase from the Windies, who took little risk as they overcame a paltry goal with 17 balls to spare.
England don’t have much time to lick their wounds as they will be back in action on Sunday, but Dawson sees the silver lining in a quick comeback.
“It’s a good thing,” he said. “We have another opportunity to learn and correct it and get a win on the board. All the boys will be very excited to go again.”
England were in trouble almost from the start, stuttering at 10 from three and then 49 from seven when their Ashes batting woes carried over to the Caribbean.
At one point, a new all-time low benchmark was looming, but Chris Jordan’s 28 on 23 balls and Rashid’s 22 on 18 shipments ensured they remain the 80 they achieved against India in the World Twenty20 of 2012.
Jason Holder finished with the best figures of the four-for-seven format at 3.1 overs, taking two wickets twice in as many deliveries, as a Windies side with a new look, sans Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, drew first blood.
“Everything clicked for us, things went our way and the guys really ran with it,” Holder said.
“I think in the past we probably would have relaxed a little bit, but I was really happy to see the guys keep the pedal to the metal and try to finish the innings.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.