WHEN I look back on 2009 I remember a host of happy times.

Although I had to endure injuries at the start of the year, I enjoyed my season with Notts when I came back in the summer and took plenty of wickets.

They have since awarded me a benefit year, a fantastic honour, and I have done well enough to make it back into the England squad.

When I have pulled on the Three Lions, I have been pretty consistent and pleased with my form. I know I am bowling well.

And, of course, off the field, my wife has given birth to my first child Indiana, which has been a tremendous experience.

There is just one regret I have that I hope can change in 2010 – and that’s still never having played in an Ashes Test match.

It was brilliant to see England beat the Aussies in the summer and be part of some of the squads.

But to not get on the field in what is considered the greatest series of them all was obviously a massive disappointment.

That is how it goes sometimes; you have to be ready to deal with what comes at you.

The good thing from my point of view is that I have a chance to put that right in the coming 12 months with a tour Down Under on the horizon.

There is a lot of good cricket to look forward to in the New Year and my hope is that I can be fit to play a little bit more.

I’m also looking to sort out my contract with Notts and finish the rest of my career at Trent Bridge.

They have a young team now with me as one of the older heads and it will be my job to pass on the experience I have to those coming through.

But I have said many times before how much I would love to play in the  Ashes and that is a big incentive.

If I could achieve that, then it really would be the icing on the cake as far as my career is concerned after some of the other things I have already achieved.

I still have faith in my ability as a bowler and I know that I can put myself on the plane for Australia if I perform as I know as I can.

So there is certainly plenty for me to get my teeth into in the coming year.

WHAT an impact from the Notts lads in England’s second Test victory against South Africa at Durban – Swanny (Graeme Swann) and Broady (Stuart Broad) were simply brilliant.

The result was one of England’s best wins in my opinion, especially as it was away from home and after we had been under severe pressure and only just saved the first Test.

We were very much the underdogs but we really managed to turn it around so that the South Africans are now asking questions about their own team ahead of the start of the third Test in Cape Town tomorrow. (Sunday)

It was reminiscent of what happened in the summer against Australia when we held on for a draw at Cardiff and then beat them at Lord’s.

The boys did mention that in the lead up to the game and sometimes it can help you.

I cannot say enough about my Trent Bridge team-mates, who were central to the Durban win. Swanny is making a big difference to the England team and he is definitely one of the best bowlers in the world at the moment, as reflected by his ICC ranking of number three.

He has taken 54 wickets in this calendar year, which I believe is the first time an English spinner has achieved such a distinction.

Those statistics do not lie and comes from the fact he is bowling with such confidence.

Just as important is his batting. He has always had the talent but now he seems to have found some consistency to go with it.

What Broady has in his locker that every good side needs is the ability to bowl match-winning spells.

Sometimes he can seem a little bit innocuous and have sessions where he doesn’t get any wickets but then, all of a sudden. he bowls a devastating spell that changes the game.

Whether it is swinging the ball, moving it off the seam, reverse swinging it or bowling bouncers, Broady can do it all and when he gets it right there are few better.

In the end, it just shows if you can put good teams under pressure they can crack, no matter what their reputation.

That happened to South Africa in this Test match and it has happened to us in the past.

It was great to hear the Barmy Army singing songs from our dressing room and we had our own singalong before going back to the hotel for a few, quiet beers.

But there were not too many celebrations because we are only halfway through the series and there is a lot of hard work still to go.