Delighted with the maiden call from England for the upcoming third Test against South Africa, Tom Westley is keen to replicate the performances of the first-class cricket that gave him the opportunity to play for the national team. The 28-year old Essex batsman will make debut in the next Test and will take the No 3 spot in the batting order which has been vacated by Gary Ballance, who broke his finger in the second Test.
Westley has been in pretty good form for Essex this season where he has scored 478 runs in the Championship including two centuries at an impressive average of 53.11. The right-handed batsman also had an impressive outing against South Africa’s full-strength bowling attack last month when he scored 106 not out for England Lions. He has scored three centuries in his last six first-class innings and is hoping to give a similar performance in the England jersey. He is also taking confidence from his performance against South Africa in the unofficial Test.
“I appreciate everything in Test cricket is going to be another step up in intensity, but I can take confidence from having faced the majority of their bowlers a few weeks ago and scored some runs,” Westley told the England and Wales Cricket Board’s official website after his call-up. “But for me the key is going to be replicating what I’ve been doing with Essex.”
With Ballance struggling at number three, Westley can cement his place with a good performance in the upcoming Test.
Westley further revealed how he got the news of the national team selection and how his day turned out after the memorable moment.
“I had James Whitaker’s number stored on my ‘phone from previous Lions selections, so when I saw it come up I was hoping for good news – but nothing can prepare you until it happens,” he said.
“There was a long pause on the phone – I think he wondered if I was still there. But I was just trying to take it in. This is why you get into cricket, because you want to play for England. It’s all just snowballed from there really, lots of calls and congratulations. In that respect it’s been a very humbling day,” he added.
The 28-year old also revealed that he got a congratulatory phone call from his Essex teammate and former England captain Alastair Cook. Calling England’s highest Test run-scorer his run model, Westley said he was looking forward to batting with Cook for the national team.
“Cooky called me this morning, just to say congratulations, the usual stuff between team-mates – if he could help in any way, he’d be on the end of a phone,” Westley said. “He was in the car with his daughter Elsie actually, so she said congratulations to me as well. I’ve learned so much from Cooky over the years. One of the big things is his demeanour, not just as a batsman but also as a person.
“He’s an unbelievable role model, and after seeing him close-up with Essex for so long I’m looking forward to seeing him with England. We’ve had quite a few good partnerships with Essex, so hopefully we can do the same for England,” he added.