Mark Stoneman is the new name that the English Cricket Board has included in the squad that would face West Indies at home turf. Talking about his selection and what he felt after getting the maiden call, Stoneman revealed that selection call didn’t “sink in” quickly.
“It was my turn for the coffee run and I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket,” was quoted as saying by ecb.co.uk. “I put the tray down in a dug-out and went around the corner to take the call,” he said.
“I saw Mr Whitaker’s name and answered quickly before it could go onto voicemail. I knew it was today that the squad for the first Test against West Indies was being announced and had seen a few tweets, but still didn’t know if it would be good or bad news.”
“It still hasn’t quite sunk in. I made a few quick calls to my wife, parents and sister. Everyone was quite emotional because it has been a long road with a few ups and downs along the way,” said Stoneman.
Mark was quick to make a few call as soon as he got the news and the batsman insisted that it was his father who would have filled with emotions and must have felt proud at the moment.
“My dad Ian is a typical Northern bloke who kept his emotions in check during my call. I bet he shed a tear or two when he put the phone down though because he will be so proud,” he added.
“I used to follow him around from the age of about four when he played in the various leagues around the North East, carrying my little plastic bat and ball. I owe so much to my parents. I grew up watching the likes of Alec Stewart playing for England on TV and dreamed of following in his footsteps,” Stoneman added.
“The realisation that there are a lot of good players around made me aware that I had to keep on putting in performances week-in, week-out,” he said. “I tried to keep things simple and ensure my name was in the right area of the batting charts at the right time, without getting ahead of myself,” the opener said.
Mentioning about how it feels to be in the England squad, Stoneman said that it’s fantastic to get a maiden call.
“It’s fantastic to be in the squad for such an historic game,” he said. “It will be step into the unknown for a lot of players and I hope to be part of that. First and foremost I want to get into the England team and stay there. You can never look too far ahead, but I will try to treasure every momeny of involvement,” he said.
Stoneman also talked about Jennings who has been dropped from the squad after a string of low score to his name in the recent past. He told that Jennings is a known face to him as they have worked together and he has the ability to get back in touch.
“Keats is a top guy and we have spent a long time working together,” he said. “He has come up against a fantastic attack in the last few Tests and I will be calling him to wish him all the best,” he told.
“It was character-building for me to play on some of the pitches at Chester-le-Street as a young batsman. You watch other batsmen and try and find a method of making runs in all conditions,” he suggested.
Talking about playing for Surrey, Stoneman admitted that it helped him enhance his game.
“Having a fresh challenge with Surrey has helped concentrate my mind this summer. I don’t think the move is what has got me picked by England, but it has enabled me to continue the work I had done over the past four years.”
“Surrey told me they thought I would go on to play for England, as well as helping them achieve success, and that belief was very important to me,” he concluded.