James Vince, England batsman and Hampshire captain, is hoping to regain a place in the Test side this summer, targeting the Ashes, which begins on 1 August.
Vince, who has played 13 Tests for England across three years, last played in March 2018 against New Zealand but was not able to retain his place in the side despite scoring a fluent 76 in Christchurch. Now with the Ashes around the corner, the top-order batsman is looking for another chance to prove himself.
"I feel like my game’s definitely improved in the time I’ve been away. I feel like I can do better in Test cricket. I’ve had the taste of it. I know what it takes," Vince told The Independent in an interview.
Vince has scored 500 runs in 22 Test innings and averages 24.90, with three half-centuries to his name. Having spoken to England selector Ed Smith and skipper Joe Root, the 28-year-old has been advised to bat higher up the order for his county side to make a case for selection. Since he already bats at No.3, Vince is comfortable with the idea of opening the innings.
I feel like I can do better in Test cricket. I’ve had the taste of it. I know what it takes.
"The feedback I got was that they're more comfortable moving someone down the order than up the order," he said. "So by opening the batting, if I can do well at the start of the year, and should there be spots available come the Ashes, I’ve given myself the best chance of being selected.
"I’ve been batting No.3 [for Hampshire], so it’s not a huge change tactically. Last year I was in within the first five overs anyway."
While Vince's run in international cricket has been quite short, he has done pretty well at the domestic level, scoring close to 1000 first-class runs last season in challenging conditions. He understands that tough competition makes it difficult to claw his way back in once dropped and that there are no excuses for failures at the international level.
"I played six Tests last winter, got a couple of unlucky dismissals, a couple of good balls. I didn’t necessarily have the time to claw it back. You start playing for your place a little bit. You have two or three low scores, and the nature of international cricket is there’s always guys wanting the spot you’re in," he mused.
He always analyzed his dismissals to work on his shortcomings, he added. "Every time I get out, I try and assess whether it was a poor decision, poor execution, whether the bowler got me out, whether I could have done anything differently.
"It’s not every time you got a great ball. [But] not every time it’s going to be your fault. Occasionally you’re going to make a bad decision. Everyone in the world does that."