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Joe Denly feared England Test call-up might never come

8:36 pm, 21st September 2018

Denly, 32, returns to the international set-up for the first time since 2010 when he earned nine ODI caps and played five IT20s.

The right-hander helped Kent earn promotion from division two of the County Championship by scoring 798 runs – as well as 20 wickets at 18.90 with his leg-spin – and says his versatility helped him win a spot in England’s 16-man squad.

“I’ve batted in all positions and I think that’s probably helped my selection,” he said. “I started my career as an opening bat and moved down to number three; I’ve batted at number four as well.

“I think that’s what I’ve got to do; I’ve got to prepare to bat in all those positions and, hopefully, if selected in a game I can take that chance at whatever number that is.

“I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity I’ve had with the ball this year; I’m very excited to get out there and see what type of wickets we may come up against.

“But I’m sure that we will be challenged against spin bowling and, hopefully, I can contribute with the ball as well as with the bat.

Denly has not appeared in England colours since February 2010, when he was bowled by Yasir Arafat for just five in the second T20 against Pakistan in Dubai.

So eight years on, he said it was “great” to receive a call from National Selector Ed Smith.

“I suppose I always held on to hoping that the opportunity hadn’t gone and thankfully it hasn’t,” Denly reflected. “It has been a pretty good day.

“Ed Smith gave me a call this afternoon around 2pm; again I probably thought my chances had gone, knowing they were announcing the squad around 3.30pm, so it was a great call to get.”

He added: “It’s been a pretty good couple of days – obviously getting promotion yesterday, up into division one again, and we had a very successful white-ball campaign as well.

“Personally it has been a very enjoyable few years and this season is very enjoyable and topped off today with this news. It has been an incredible couple of years.”

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

England in Sri Lanka 2018 Schedule

1st ODI (D/N) – Dambulla: Wednesday, October 10, 9.30am Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event
2nd ODI – Dambulla: Saturday, October 13, 5am, Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event
3rd ODI (D/N) – Kandy: Wednesday, October, 17 9.30am, Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event
4th ODI – Kandy: Saturday, October 20 5am, Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event
5th ODI (D/N) – Colombo: Tuesday, October 23, 9.30am, Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event

Only T20 – Colombo: Saturday, October 27 2pm, Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event

Two-day warm-up match – Colombo: October 30-31, SLC Board President’s XI v England
Two-day warm-up match – Colombo: November 1-2, SLC Board President’s XI v England

1st Test – Galle: Tuesday, November 6 to Saturday, November 10, 4am, Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event
2nd Test – Kandy: Wednesday, November 14 to Sunday, November 18, 4am, Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event
3rd Test – Colombo: Friday, November 23 to Tuesday, November 27, 4am, Sky Sports Cricket and Main Event

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