STEVEN CROFT will be in international action next month when he represents England in the Hong Kong Sixes tournament.
The Blackpool big hitter will be part of a seven-man squad looking to regain their crown when they take on the likes of Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong in the group phase.
Apart from representative honours as a teenager, this is the first time Croft has played for his country at senior level and the Lancashire all-rounder cannot wait to link up with his team-mates.
“I’m really excited about the call up,” he said. “It’s another stage you can show your skills on, and you get to put on an England shirt while you’re doing it which makes it special.
“I got a call at the end of the season from James Whittaker (England selector and Sixes Manager) asking if I was available and of course I jumped at it, and I’ve been excited ever since.”
A star in all regular forms of the game, Croft has never played Sixes cricket before but has been a big fan of it.
“I have always watched it on TV and thought I would love to give it a go.
“Although some people may think of it as a bit of a slog, I believe there a quite a lot of qualities you need. Everything you do will count in the game, from runs scored under pressure to everyone bowling and coping with the pressure, and there is also the fielding which will be very important as you only have four fielders.
“I love playing under pressure and in tight games whether it would be hitting a six off the last ball or having to bowl the final over or getting under a ‘sky-er’ to win the games - I would love to be in that situation.”
Captaining the team will be Surrey skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown, while Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Rikki Clarke, Chris Nash, Darren Stevens and Peter Trego join Croft to make up a hugely talented squad.
Croft added: “I get on well with Rory and the other lads. I haven’t played with them before but they all are good players and nice lads when you play against them on the circuit.”