Joe Denly insists age is nothing but a number as he prepares for his second coming as an England cricketer.
The 32-year-old had already been handed a first Test call-up for next month’s series against Sri Lanka, but arrived on the island earlier than expected after being added to the one-day squad following Liam Dawson’s withdrawal.
Having spent nine years entirely off the England radar, winning the last of 14 limited-overs caps in February 2010, the all-rounder enjoyed a revelatory season for Kent and now stands on the cusp of being a three-format international.
He arrived in Kandy on Wednesday morning, hours before England took a 2-0 lead in the ODI series, and is keen to make up for lost time.
“I know I’m 32 now, but for me that’s just a number, I feel as ready as I ever have and I still think my best years are ahead of me,” he told talkSPORT.
“The thought never came into my mind (that it was over). If I wasn’t selected it would have been a case of trying to get better and trying to improve on my performances.
“Hopefully there’s lots more runs and wickets to come.”
Denly’s highest ODI score was the 67 he made on debut against Ireland in 2009, an innings that occupied 111 balls.
That kind of strike-rate would be considered positively pedestrian by current standards, but Denly has moved with the times too – reinventing his game on the domestic T20 circuit.
“It has changed, it was a long time ago when I was last involved and a lot’s happened since then,” he said.
“Watching the England team develop over the last few years, watching them rise to number one in the world you think it’s going to be a tough gig to get involved.
“It’s my training session tomorrow so there’s a chance there to try and make an impact, but the team is playing brilliant cricket and are on the back of two very good wins. It’s up to me to stake a claim where I can.”