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Joe Denly previews the Champions Trophy

Sunday 20th September 2009

Kent“s Joe Denly (pictured) says he cannot wait for England“s trip to South Africa for the ICC Champions Trophy. Denly and his team-mates fly off later today and go into the tournament on a high, following their morale-boosting four-wicket win over Australia at the Riverside.

In their first match England take on Sri Lanka in Johannesburg on Friday, aiming to build on victory in the final match of the NatWest Series.

The latest challenge comes at the end of a gruelling Ashes summer, but Denly says everyone will be well up for the challenge: “We cannot wait. It“s the Champions Trophy; it“s one of the big events so everyone is looking forward to it.

“It“s my first trip to South Africa and I cannot wait. We have a few South Africans at Kent and they have all told me that I will enjoy it. I“ve heard a lot of good things; apparently there will be pace and bounce in the wickets so I cannot wait for the trip to begin. It“s nice to go to different countries and experience their way of life.

“Every single team out there will feel that they can win it. We are going to face some real tough matches. It will be a great challenge; for me personally and England as a group. We are in a tough group but we are confident. I guess the schedule is tough but that“s international cricket and it“s the same for all of us.”

So how is Denly finding the international game and is he enjoying his England experience? “Yes, definitely. It was nice to get some runs against Australia and I thought I did okay in the series. It was important that we finished on a high and I was pleased to finish with a 50 and an England win. It would“ve been nice to be there at the end (of the innings) but the main thing was the win and to avoid the whitewash. With England, you are always in the spotlight and everyone is watching you but I don“t mind that. I“m enjoying the experience so long may it continue.

“I brought up my 50 against Australia with a little edge down to third man for four. It was a nice feeling. I got a 50 against Ireland but this one meant more. The Aussies didn“t really say much to me out on the field but a few said well done back in the dressing room. It was good and sets me up nicely for the Champions Trophy.”

And it“s a good job that Vodafone are one of the England team sponsors because Joe says his phone has been pretty non-stop since breaking into the England side.

He said: “It seems that everyone has got my number! The phone hasn“t stopped since I“ve broken into the England side. I“ve had lots of calls and texts from people just wishing me well. It“s been manic; even more so since yesterday“s knock. It“s great to pick up the phone and see that you have a few texts; people just saying well batted and keep it going. It“s amazing how many people back you. Lots of people are obviously following what I“m doing so I hope to do them all proud when I get out to South Africa for the Champions Trophy.”

Picture:Getty Images