8th October 2011

Awoke to news that I’d been rested from England’s opening tour fixture against Hyderabad. Forget winning the Ashes, this is the highlight of my career, as nothing spells out “yer man is the leader of our attack” louder than being able to sit on the dressing room balcony with a copy of FHM’s 2010 High Street Honeys Supplement whilst everyone else is sweating it out in the middle during a warm-up game.

Because let’s be honest here, if you want to be taken seriously as an international bowler, you just can’t afford to be seen playing in games like this. In fact, you can’t afford to be seen bowling at all. It completely undermines your credibility. Do you think Zaheer Khan would be so high in the ICC bowling rankings if he’d played in all four Tests this summer? Do you think Brett Lee would have the same ability to intimidate if anyone had seen him bowl in living memory? The guy must be pushing 50.

That’s why our attack has been so successful of late. We’re buoyed by the confidence of knowing we’re so important to Team England that we’ll only ever be asked to play if there are absolutely no other options available. Just look at the current tour party. Where are Cover girl and Trembler? Too injured to be risked. Where’s Jimmy? Back home with his feet up in front of the TV, waiting until the most obviously mentally ill ones have been voted off X-Factor. Ok, I know Swanny’s out here, but that’s only because management don’t want him with enough time on his hands to write another book.

And now I’m just one step away from that level.

To think, in the space of eighteen months I’ve gone from the daily grind of the county circuit, to the point where I spend more time trying to delete my internet history log before the WAGs arrive than I do actually bowling. And the great thing is, the less I bowl, the more likely I am to pick up those niggley injuries that stop me from playing anyway.

There’s a kind of beautiful symmetry to that, which can only be fully appreciated with a set of crutches, a top ten ICC player ranking, and supporters who have a misty-eyed nostalgia for you but zero recollection of what your bowling action was actually like.

And let me tell you, as a senior England bowler that’s exactly the situation I aim to be in by the end of the winter…

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