Dawson ‘definitely wasn’t expecting’ call up

England's World Twenty20 squad announced on Wednesday had the surprising name of Liam Dawson on the list, and the player himself admitted to being just as shocked as everyone else about his call-up.

Dawson, uncapped for England and only a recent convert to full-time spin, was named in the squad to go to India despite not getting regular game time for Hampshire last season. He was even sent on loan to Essex.

But his move to Chelmsford was a good one, and he was picked to play for the England Lions against Pakistan, where he impressed recently. Still, he said he was surprised to be picked ahead of the likes of Stephen Parry.

Dawson said on the ECB website of the phone call from selector James Whitaker: "He said ‘Well done on the winter’, then asked if I'd booked any holidays for March.

"Luckily I hadn't, because then he told me I was in the Twenty20 squad. I definitely wasn't expecting it. It’s a dream come true, what you do all that training as a kid hoping might happen one day.

"It’s definitely been a strange eight months. I've said before that I was thankful to Hampshire for letting me go out on loan, and thankful to Essex for giving me the chance.

"Then I went back to Hampshire and finished the season pretty strongly. Zafar got injured, I got the call to go out on the EPP (England Performance Programme), and I loved it.

"The training camp was brilliant – it was hard work, but pretty relaxed as well. I think all the boys would say they benefited from it.

"There was a focus on spin bowling and batting against spin which obviously suited me. The specialist coaches we had out there were great – we got to pick their brains, which I enjoyed.

"And then the series against Pakistan was very enjoyable for me. I'd like to think I contributed to all the games, and took my chance, which is what you've got to do."

Lions head coach Andy Flower, a former senior team coach, said of Dawson: "He’s shown a lot of skill as a part-time left-arm spinner, to such an extent that we played him as a full-timer.

"But he’s also an excellent fielder, and he’s a very skilful right-handed batter, and he holds himself well under pressure."