Steven Mullaney hopes his performances as captain in for England Lions against India A and the West Indies A have enhanced his chances of earning further international recognition.
The Notts skipper and all-rounder was proud to pull on the Three Lions shirt for the first time in a tri-series which finished earlier this week.
And, as he prepares to return to action for the Outlaws as they host Birmingham Bears in their first T20 match of the summer at Trent Bridge tonight (6.30pm start), the 31-year-old is hopeful that this is only the start of him representing his country.
“I love it playing for the Lions, being the first time I had been involved in the England set-up,” said Mullaney. “It was different, but there were similarities as well, and we tried to play some positive cricket.
“It was an unbelievable feeling to wear the England shirt, especially for the first time. It’s special and a very proud moment.”
“It was an unbelievable feeling to wear the England shirt, especially for the first time. It’s special and a very proud moment.
“I certainly felt that I had something to offer at that level, scoring a fifty, a 20-odd and 17 in the final, and my strike rate was quite healthy.
“In the two games where I bowled I took 1-30 and 1-37, so I feel I have something to offer at that standard. Now I hope to push forward and hopefully get picked in the winter.
“It’s easy for some to say that I might get in another international side if it wasn’t England because they are the best side in the world, but I’m an England fan and want them to win first and foremost.
“It would be great to break into that side, but at the same time I know how hard that is going to be. If it happens it happens, but if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
“It’s whetted my appetite. If I can put some performances in during the T20 I can put my name in the mix for the winter. I have said before that if I get picked then great, but if I don’t then I will just concentrate on trying to do well for Notts.”
After comprehensively outplaying the West Indies and winning one and losing one against India, England eventually lost out in the final to the latter by five wickets.
England posted 264-9, with Sam Hain scoring a century, before the tourists completed the run chase with five-wickets in hand.
Mullaney was nevertheless impressed with his England team-mates, some of whom he played with and against during March’s North-South Series in the Caribbean in March.
“All India’s players have played in the IPL and have done very well at that level and are on the cusp of the India side, and to Test ourselves against them was brilliant.”
He added: “We played really well for the series, but India played better than us in the final (at the Oval on Monday). It was a great experience.
“All India’s players have played in the IPL and have done very well at that level and are on the cusp of the India side, and to Test ourselves against them was brilliant.
“It was interesting to see players from other counties and see how they went about their business, with the standard being very high and to play against different countries.
“I just tried to be the same as I was here – flexible with the bowlers and getting on well with the coaches.
“I guess that just reiterates that what I am doing for Notts is working and hopefully they (England) saw it the same.”
Mullaney is excited by the prospect of the Outlaws getting their Vitality Blast campaign underway against the Bears, particularly as they are defending the title they won last year.
For this competition, of course, Dan Christian assumes the role of captain, and the former Lancashire player is looking forward to some respite before taking charge again for Specsavers County Championship games later in the season.
“I’m actually looking forward to letting Dan take over for a little bit,” he said. I will have a bit more freedom to concentrate on my own game and continue trying to play well.
“I will still be thinking tactically about the games and I will help Dan however I can, if he asks me. But I will go out of my way to make sure I don’t undermine him because I am part of the team - and it’s his team.
“If we play to our potential in T20, then I think we have as good a chance as anyone.”
“Dan will get other opinions and then it will be up to him to go with his gut as to what is the best thing to do. It’s always good to have a number of people who can lead on and off the field, which has done wonders for us, and hopefully that can be the case in T20.”
As for Notts’ chances, Mullaney is upbeat that the team can once again challenge strongly in the Vitality Blast.
He said: “If we play to our potential, then I think we have as good a chance as anyone, but we know, same as in the 50-over competition, that teams are going to come hunting us.
“But that’s an exciting challenge for us to try and defend our trophy.”
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