Liam Dawson wants to make surprise call-up count against India
England’s decision to rope in all-rounder Liam Dawson as a replacement for the injured Zafar Ansari in the squad for the ongoing Test series in India, which the tourists trail 2-0 after three matches, did raise a few eyebrows with the 26-year-old Hampshire lad considered a limited-overs specialist. Dawson himself acknowledges that he was more than a little surprised by the decision but is keen to make the chance count if given a chance to play in the remaining two matches in the series.
Dawson, who took 22 only wickets for his county side during the 2016 Championship, said that while wicket-taking might not be one of his greatest strength, he is confident that he can contain the flow of runs from one end thus helping his fellow bowlers build up the pressure while also chipping in with the bat with some useful contributions lower down the order.
"I'd admit my white-ball cricket is a lot stronger than my red-ball cricket," he said. "But I've played a lot of red-ball cricket and I feel I'm still improving in that area. If I get the opportunity, hopefully, I'll offer some control with the ball. That's what I do with Hampshire. That's all I can do if selected for England.”
Dawson, who was playing in the Bangladesh Premier League for Rangpur Riders when he earned the surprise call-up, believes his stats does not provide a clear picture of his abilities but is confident that the team management is aware enough of his skills to land him a place in the Test squad.
"I did all right in the Championship. I only played 12 games, due to the one-day series. People see my season as only getting 22 wickets and say it is very poor, but I did bowl well and I did give Hampshire control. That's something hopefully I can do if I play in the Test match. That's my job and that's been my job for the last three years at the Ageas Bowl: to score runs and bring control with the ball. That's all I can do if I play," he said.
Dawson, who is yet to play a competitive game in India, is aware of the hardships a fast bowler faces on the slow, turning pitches in the subcontinent and knows the job gets even tougher when one takes a look at the batting strength of the hosts.
"My job is to offer control, but if the wicket is spinning keep landing it in the right area and hopefully the wicket does the rest," Dawson said. "There's no doubt the Indian batsmen are exceptional players. It's an amazing challenge for me and if I am to play it'll be a huge honour."