Alex Thomson is aiming for more first-team appearances this season after impressing in his first Vitality Blast game for Birmingham Bears, against Lancashire Lightning last Friday.

Off-spinning all-rounder Thomson rose to the challenge at Emirates Old Trafford, harvesting an excellent four for 35 to justify a call-up that was well-earned after consistently strong all-round displays for the Second XI this season.

We have an outstanding squad so it is not easy to force a way into the team.

Alex Thomson

The 24-year-old’s efforts came in a losing cause, meaning the Bears must win their last two Blast group games, at home to the Lightning tomorrow and Worcestershire Rapids on Friday, to stand any chance of qualifying.

But he relished the big-game atmosphere and is keen to sample more of it.

“I really enjoyed it,” Thomson said. “It was my first time playing in front of a crowd of that size and it was great to get that exposure.

“T20 is getting harder all the time for bowlers. Every year batsmen seem to come up with new ways of scoring and are clearing the ropes more and more. Two years ago, 180 was a very good total, now it’s below par. It does make the bowler’s job more difficult but it’s a challenge I enjoy.

“I was pleased with the way I bowled, it was just a shame that we didn’t get the right result, so we have two huge home games now this week. I would love to be involved in them, though whether that will be the case I don’t know as I’m sure team selection will depend upon various things like the pitch and the position the team is in.

“We have an outstanding squad so it is not easy to force a way into the team but it was great to get my chance. It’s my first season with the Bears and I have really enjoyed everything about it.”

With the Old Trafford pitch always favouring slower bowlers in T20, Stoke-on-Trent-born Thomson got the nod last Friday to support number one spinner Jeetan Patel, a man from whom he is learning a great deal in his first season at Edgbaston.

“Jeets is an absolute wizard,” he said. “I’d seen him bowl in the past but now to be alongside him in the dressing-room is fantastic. He has so much knowledge and is always happy to share it. It’s a privilege for me to be around him and pick his brains.”