Stephen Parry is hopeful that another summer of impressive displays in coloured clothing for the Lightning can help him get into the England reckoning.
The Lancashire left-arm spinner, 25 years old, believes forcing his way into the running for a place in his country’s World Twenty20 squad for next year’s event in Sri Lanka is a realistic aim.
Despite not being in the county’s four-day team at present, Manchester born Parry has already made his debut for the England Lions on the back of his notable showings whilst bowling with the white ball.
He took 37 wickets in both forms of limited overs cricket last summer, with 26 of those coming in Twenty20 as he finished as the competition’s second best spinner behind Hampshire’s Danny Briggs.
And he should get an opportunity to prove his quality when the Unicorns visit a new-look Old Trafford for this Clydesdale Bank 40 opener.
Having recovered from a double hernia operation in the latter half of the winter, Parry said: “There's a Twenty20 World Cup next year, so I'd love to have the sort of wickets haul I had last year. I'd then be knocking on the door.
“12 months ago when I got the Lions call up I was thinking 'how am I ever going to get in that England side?' They'd just beaten Australia over here in the one-dayers, but it just shows you how quickly time can change.
“It's been a bit of roller-coaster of realising where I am. But, if I do well this season, it will do me no harm whatsoever.”
Parry, who played for the seconds in the four-day drawn friendly against Middlesex at Crosby earlier this week, made his Lions debut against the Indian A side in a one-day match at Worcester last year, taking three wickets.
And he spent a portion of his most recent winter in Perth at the Paul Terry Academy as part of the ECB scholarship programme, training and playing grade cricket at the weekends for the Gosnalls club.
He continued: "It's nice to know that they're looking at a young group of spinners, and I'm involved in it. It's better being there than a little bit further below. But I think I rightly deserved it with my performances.
“It was really enjoyable. I worked on my batting, bowling and fielding, it was good. I played for Gosnalls on a Saturday, somewhere where I played three or four years ago. I had a good season. I averaged 50 batting and won us a few games from the lower order.
“My bowling was steady away. I was probably five or ten wickets or way from where I wanted to be with my bowling, but I was still quite happy with the way it was coming out. I was getting plenty of twos and threes, but I wanted a few five-fors.”
Parry’s work on his batting was also evident at Crosby as he scored 48 in the first innings for Lancashire twos.
In terms of Sunday's match against the Unicorns, who Lancashire beat twice last year, it will be start of a new era for the club as the bowling will come from north and south rather than east and west as the Old Trafford continues its redevelopment.
“We'll probably have a bit of practice out there before it all starts,” added Parry, who also had a joke about which of the new ends would suit him the most. “I'd imagine I'd get the worse end. If we play two spinners in one-day cricket, there's no way that Keeds will get the end where the batters hit with the wind!”
Stephen Parry was talking to Graham Hardcastle
Photo of Steven Croft (c) PA Images
Photo of Stephen Parry (c) Simon Pendrigh
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