Middlesex and England Lions all-rounder Ollie Rayner hopes 2014 could be the year he makes the step into international cricket, as he prepares for the first game of the summer at Lord's.
Having been called into the Lions squad to tour Sri Lanka, Rayner spoke to Lords.org about his chances of making the breakthrough into the full England team.
"I haven’t intentionally thought about it [England selection]" said Rayner, "but people keep reminding me of it and I can’t ignore it.
"I’m a big believer that if I do well for Middlesex and keep doing what I’m doing then it’s up to the powers that be. I’ll just try to keep doing what I’ve been doing, and getting a call-up might be the dream that comes true."
Rayner finished 2013 in stellar form, picking up 15 wickets at The Oval as he ended the season as the leading English spinner in county cricket, earning him late selection for the Sri Lanka tour, which he claims was unexpected.
Getting a call-up might be the dream that comes true
"To get out there and move my fingers in the warm weather has been absolutely outstanding, top drawer. It was pretty unexpected, but I’ve had a great winter and enjoyed every minute of it.
"I didn’t think I would play, but I got a game out of it, and the training and preparation with the best players and coaches has done me no end of good.
"I’m a bit older now at 28 and I think I know my game a lot better, and being away with the Lions and MCC this winter has 100% helped that."
Although Rayner missed Middlesex’s first game of the season, as they subsided to an innings defeat against Sussex at Hove, he’ll hope to be selected for the first match of the season at Lord’s, as Middlesex host Nottinghamshire, starting Sunday 13 April.