Gregory reflects on tough international baptism ahead of Australia trip

Lewis Gregory reflected on a challenging introduction to international cricket after being named England Lions captain for the forthcoming tour of Australia.

The Somerset all-rounder was an ever-present in England’s 3-2 Twenty20 series victory over the Kiwis at the back end of last year but contributed just 21 runs in three innings and was only called upon to bowl four overs.

Batting at number seven meant he often had no time to play himself in, while he missed most of last season’s Vitality Blast with a foot injury, but Gregory accepts he was unable to seize his chance.

He said: “It was obviously brilliant to get a series win but on a personal note it was a very frustrating trip. There’s times when I went a little bit too gung-ho.

“I don’t think I had the most amount of opportunities to show what I can do but equally it’s international sport and you’re there to win games.

“I don’t think it was more of a step up than I thought. I hadn’t played as much T20 cricket leading into that. If you’ve got the confidence behind you it’s easier leading in and execute what you’ve been doing.

“T20 cricket is a volatile game where you can easily go four or five games in that position where you don’t get a score. And that’s the nature of the beast.”

Lewis Gregory has not been retained by England for the Twenty20 leg of the South Africa tour
Lewis Gregory has not been retained by England for the Twenty20 leg of the South Africa tour (David Davies/PA)

Gregory was not retained by England for next month’s T20s against South Africa but he does not think he has missed the boat for selection for the World Cup in Australia later this year.

He added: “I feel like from that experience I’ll be able to go back and learn and do things different if I get another opportunity.

“The England white-ball team is a very difficult one to break into. But there’s no reason why I can’t do that, or anyone here or anyone in county cricket can’t do that.

“It’s about putting in performances, keep knocking on the door and hopefully that call comes. It’s something I can’t control.”

Gregory remains firmly on England’s radar, though, and and is set to lead the Lions in five 50-over matches and three four-day games when they head Down Under in a tour which gets under way on February 2 and ends on March 5.

Moeen Ali is to give the England Lions squad the benefit of his experience
Moeen Ali is to give the England Lions squad the benefit of his experience (Adam Davy/PA)

Australia has traditionally been an unhappy hunting ground for England’s senior side although this trip represents an opportunity for a number of players to put themselves in the shop window for the 2021/22 Ashes.

Speaking at a media day at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, Gregory said: “It’s going to be a very tough tour but one that personally I’m really looking forward to and I’m sure the guys are.

“It’s a very tough place to go and perform and do well but it’s going to be a great opportunity for the guys to go out there and put in some performances and hopefully win a lot of games over in Australia.

“I’m personally looking forward to it, it’s a big honour (to captain the side).”

Moeen Ali, meanwhile, is visiting the squad at their preparation camp this week alongside former England seamer Tim Bresnan to share their experiences of playing in the challenging conditions of Australia.

Moeen is set to travel to South Africa for the limited-overs portion of England’s tour which starts later this month.

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