Somerset bowler Lewis Gregory has been working hard towards getting noticed by England selectors, but was 'speechless' when he received the call from national selector Ed Smith informing him about his selection to the Test squad for the match against Ireland.
Gregory has been in stunning form in County Championship cricket over the last couple of seasons. This season, in particular, he has picked up 44 wickets from eight matches at a staggering 13.88.
Most recently, captaining England Lions against the Australians, he picked up key wickets of Joe Burns, Marcus Harris and Travis Head across the two innings to help hold the strong opposition to a tough draw in Canterbury. It was on the final day of the game that he received the call.
England National Selector Ed Smith believes that Jason Roy is now a 'more complete player than he has ever been' and his inclusion in England's Test team had been a long-term goal.https://t.co/4QQO8VL4Lp— ICC (@ICC) July 18, 2019
"I was really excited when Ed called me this morning. I was a little bit speechless, I didn't know what to say," he told reporters after the end of day's play on Wednesday, 17 July.
He said the weariness from toiling on a tough surface against the Australians had eased off after he received the call.
"I was really excited when Ed called me this morning. I was a little bit speechless, I didn't know what to say. It's been a really tough game on a pretty docile wicket, and there's some sore and tired bodies in there, but when you get the news I got this morning it gives you a little bit of a lift, and you feel a little bit better."
England announce their squad for their Test match against Ireland!— ICC (@ICC) July 17, 2019
Jason Roy and Lewis Gregory receive their first call-ups, whilst Olly Stone could also make his Test debut. pic.twitter.com/38k7qHHvap
Gregory knows that if all goes to plan, he could be in contention for a spot in England's Ashes squad too. For that he'll have to impress against Ireland, should he get the chance, and he's certainly not lacking in confidence.
"It's been always been a dream of mine, and I've always believed that I was good enough and have the ability to play international cricket.
"The last two summers, I've put in performances consistently enough to raise that belief. And I always knew that, if I kept performing, there would be an opportunity at some stage. If next week's that, then hopefully I'll go and perform and put my hand up for an Ashes call as well."
The lone Test against Ireland, a four-day affair, gets underway at Lord's on 24 July.
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