Sam Hain endured a restless night’s sleep before making an England debut that has felt inevitable to many observers – even if he had “made peace” with the chance never arriving.
Despite boasting the second-highest List A average ever – only India’s Ruturaj Gaikwad is better – and regularly turning out for England Lions, Hain has had to bide his time for senior recognition.
With their World Cup stars resting, England finally thrust Hain to the fore for his first cap aged 28 and he maximised his opportunity by starring in a 48-run win over Ireland in the second Metro Bank one-day international.
Hain had accepted his moment might never arrive because of the wealth of batting talent England have at their disposal but that did not mean he was not on edge leading up to his classy 89 off 82 balls.
“There’s nerves there and that’s because I really care,” Hain said.
“I really want to do well for England. I’ve waited a long time for an opportunity and I am grateful for it.
“I actually made peace that I might never, ever get the chance but doesn’t mean I lacked ambition. I don’t care who you are, anyone who says they’re not nervous on a day like this would be lying.
“I had a little bit of a sleepless night, waking up around 12am, 2am and 4am. When you realise you’re awake, trying to get back to sleep, that’s when you’re really struggling. Probably the worst I’ve been.
“I wanted to do really well not only for my family, but for all the people that have supported me over the years. As debuts go, it was pretty special. It’s one that I’ll look back on for years to come.”
Hain was born in Hong Kong and raised on Australia’s Gold Coast before moving to Warwickshire in 2012, aged 16, but his British parents still live Down Under so do not often see their son play in the flesh.
However, Hain’s England bow had extra resonance as his father Bryan was able to attend Saturday’s match at Trent Bridge, having been on a working trip to France in recent weeks for the Rugby World Cup.
“He’s director of sport at the Southport (Queensland) school where I went,” Hain explained. “He’s here with about 40 or 50 of the pupils and they are over there playing a few games, watching a few games in the World Cup.
“It’s just by chance that he’s over here and then flew over (on Friday) from France to here. I know how much my mum and dad did for me when I was younger. I think it will be pretty special for him.”
Hain took just a single from his first 11 balls and was dropped off his 12th before steadily blossoming at number five, a role he is not usually accustomed to as he has tended to bat higher for Warwickshire.
He used his feet well and muscled a couple of fours down the ground but otherwise relied on timing and placement – plus one inventive scoop – before falling in the last over after taking England beyond 300.
Hain might find himself more in demand in this format as England look towards the 2027 World Cup – when batters such as Joe Root and Dawid Malan, who have a similar tempo, will be 36 and 40 respectively.
“I’m really not looking too far ahead,” Hain added. “It’s been a long season. Things are just starting to open up for me with franchise opportunities.
“I know how good that squad is that is going to India (for the World Cup), but I also know how good the players are that aren’t in it.
“We are all pushing our cases and we all obviously want to play for England, so it’s a case of whatever will be, will be.”