One question - any chance of a game?

What I would really like to do on this tour is to play some cricket. That sounds daft, doesn't it, since that is what professional players do. But I am sitting here in Namibia, having watched it rain for two days, aware of two things: one, I am not currently in the Test team, or at least I wasn't when an England Test side were last selected; two, I have never played a one-day international.

What I would really like to do on this tour is to play some cricket. That sounds daft, doesn't it, since that is what professional players do. But I am sitting here in Namibia, having watched it rain for two days, aware of two things: one, I am not currently in the Test team, or at least I wasn't when an England Test side were last selected; two, I have never played a one-day international.

This does not automatically put me at the front of the queue for a place in either of England's sides. An excess of cricket is not exactly staring me in the face. An excess of cricket is not in any shape or form what I am suffering from. The way things have gone, I could easily get withdrawal symptoms. A recap might show what I mean.

I came back to the game last March after spending 16 months out recovering from the knee injury I suffered in Brisbane in the Test against Australia. Since then, I have played only 16 or 17 games. I got injured again - a stress fracture to the foot this time, partially caused, I now think, by training too hard to make sure I got back from the other injury - and could not get back in the England side. I then struggled to gain an automatic place in the Glamorgan team. This was extremely hard to take.

To play Test cricket again, it would seem initially that I have to displace Jimmy Anderson. He has had his share of disappointments over the past year while waiting for a chance.

It is a bit of a mystery to me, in that he is an out-and-out swing bowler and I am a seam bowler, but that is up to the selectors to decide.

It may be best to clear one thing up right now. I want my place back, and the likelihood at the moment would seem to be that if I get it back, Jimmy is the one who will step down. But I am delighted for him when he does well. I share his happiness. Contradictory or whatever it may be, but he is my friend, not my rival.

It is the one-day side that I must concentrate on for the next week or so. I feel a lot more confident about playing in the short version of the game now. My lines are better, I am more accurate. But make no mistake about it: it is a different version of the game, and it demands different disciplines at different times.

That is but one reason why I am grateful to have been teamed up with Darren Gough under the squad "buddy" system. Gough is, of course, good company, but he is also one experienced cricketer. If he can't teach me a trick or two, nobody can.

But the one place where I can learn the most, the place where he can really help, where real situations crop up, is, of course, out on the pitch. Over the next week, I may get my chance, but I guess that Gough, Anderson and Alex Wharf may be the first seamers' names on the team list.

Wharf is a team-mate from Glamorgan. There are a few of us on this trip, with Matthew Maynard, still a county player, as assistant coach, Duncan Fletcher, the coach, who did that job at Glamorgan, and David Morgan, the chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who will join us in Zimbabwe. It is good to have them, not least Matthew, whom I trained with three times a week before coming here.

Having said all of that, I have my differences with Glamorgan, and am waiting to sign a new contract. My agent has had initial talks with them, but I have to think of England between now and the middle of February.

It is slightly strange practising in a country where we are not playing internationals. Zimbabwe will offer so many different challenges. The political reasons for not going have been well examined. I never thought of not going because I am a cricketer, not a politician. If anything is wrong, we will be out of there. First we must get there.

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn