Tom Westley roaring for another England opportunity
Essex man ready to head Down Under with the Lions
Tom Westley has vowed to be ready to go into battle for England if they come calling again this winter.
The 28-year-old Essex batsman was back in Cambridge this week, putting youngsters through their paces with First Choice Coaching at Hills Road Sports & Tennis Centre, the venue where he honed his skills between the ages of nine and 15.
It was part of some rare down time for former Meadow Primary School, Balsham pupil Westley before he heads to Australia to continue what has been a memorable year.
But Westley is going as part of the England Lions squad rather than the Ashes team, having missed out on selection despite playing five Test matches this summer, against South Africa and the West Indies.
“It was bitterly disappointing not to make the full squad,” said Westley.
“It’s been such an emotional summer, the highs and the lows, but mainly highs; winning the series with England and then winning Division One with Essex.
“But it was a low to finish with not being selected for full England.
“It is what it is I suppose. It’s nice being selected for the Lions and having the opportunity to train out in Australia and potentially score some runs in the warm-up games.
“And if someone does go down or something does happen to anyone in the touring party it will be nice to be there or thereabouts to step up and play again.
“It’s been mixed emotions the last month, but I’m just looking forward to playing and training again and giving myself the best chance.”
It had started and ended well for Westley for England, with 44 not out on his debut at Lord’s against West Indies, and 59 at The Oval against Surrey, but he struggled a bit for runs in between.
“It was a tough summer, I’ve only got myself to blame,” he said. “It would have been nice to have scored some runs and I would be on that plane to Australia, but it wasn’t the case.
“I didn’t score the runs I would have liked having got quite a few starts, which was quite frustrating.
“To not go on and get bigger scores is what undid it for me.”
But Westley reflects fondly on a campaign that has brought a lot of firsts.
“I wouldn’t have changed any aspect of last season at all,” he said.
“I managed to play five Tests for England, and just playing for England was a childhood dream.
“There will be some kids here as well that will have aspirations to play for England, and I’ve had them since I was nine.
“I achieved that, was involved in two series wins which was fantastic and Essex winning Division One – it’s a season that I will never forget.
“I have ticked a lot of boxes and achieved a lot of things, but when you get a taste of that, you obviously want more.”
He added: “It’s not going back to the drawing board, but just tinkering with a few things, trying a few different things and if I do get called up again in the future, I’m in a better place.”