Olly Stone would love to force his way into England's team for the opening Test match against Sri Lanka this week - and then be part of a performance which gives the country a much-needed lift.
Sport has always had the capacity to give people a boost in tough times and, with the UK back in lockdown and gripped by winter, a boost would certainly be welcome now.
A Test win for England in Galle would certainly cheer the nation’s cricket-followers and Warwickshire paceman Stone would love to be part of that. He has three days practice leading up to the match, starting in Thursday, to convince the selectors that he is ready to add to his solitary Test appearance so far, against Ireland at Lord’s in 2019.
“It would be fantastic to play,” Stone said. “I’m pretty happy with the way it’s been coming out in practice. It would be great to get the nod on Thursday so I have just got to do my best in the sessions leading up the game.
“When I was out here two years ago, it was clear that spin plays a vital part but, if selected, hopefully I could hurry a few batsmen, and maybe it will reverse swing.Olly Stone
“But, whoever is picked, we just want to try and play some cricket which gives a lift to people back home. We know that it is a really difficult time for everyone back in the UK. I am fully aware of how lucky I am to be out here playing cricket.
“This is where sport can give people a lift. We saw it a little bit at Edgbaston last year when a few hundred spectators were allowed in for one of the warm-ups and you could see how happy everyone was to be at the cricket. Hopefully, we can get out there on Thursday and play some cricket which gives people a bit of pleasure.”
Stone is certainly capable of doing that. His exhilarating pace has the potential to be at the heart of England’s attack for years to come, starting with 2021 which begins in Sri Lanka and India, then includes a sell-out ODI against Pakistan at Edgbaston in July and the Ashes down under next winter.
“It would be amazing to play for England at Edgbaston with its incredible atmosphere,” he said. “It’s a big year coming up, with the Ashes at the end of it, and, of course, I would love to be involved in them.Olly Stone
“But it doesn’t pay to look too far ahead, more than ever in these times, so I am just focusing completely on the here and now and trying to get myself in the team against Sri Lanka on Thursday.”
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