England spinner Gareth Batty is well aware of the opinions being shared about his recall to the Test side after over a decade out, but is confident he’ll be able to silence the critics on the tour to Bangladesh.
Batty, at age 38, last played for England in 2005, but has been picked to face the Tigers. He is third in line for a place behind Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, but is certain that his form will shine through if given the chance.
Batty said in the London Evening Standard: “I know people may question my age. I will be 39 next month but I honestly believe I am bowling better than I ever have.
“I have always looked to improve throughout my career and my understanding of what I can do gets better every year. Until my body can no longer do what I ask of it, I am confident I will continue to become a better bowler.”
Aside from Moeen and Rashid, Surrey all-rounder Zafar Ansari has also been handed a call, and he’s a spinner too. Batty says it’s a good thing that the slow bowling stocks are so deep, given the conditions.
He added: “A squad of four spinners is a wonderful thing and I feel very privileged to be part of it. Bowling spin is my craft, my trade and I’m very passionate about it.
“Anything I can offer – either through playing or providing a sounding board for other spinners – then I will do my utmost.
“It is an exciting challenge, whether you are my age, or on your first tour like Zafar Ansari. There is huge skill within the spin bowling group and our challenge is to adapt to conditions and help England win.”
Aside from Ansari, uncapped batsmen Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett have also been called up, filling gaps left by Alex Hales and Eoin Morgan, as well as a rested Joe Root (for the ODIs only).