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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
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

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York