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Opener Denly reflects on his England Lions contribution

Sunday 5th July 2009

Picture: Joe Denly and Adil Rashid

KENT opener Joe Denly feels his good performance for the England Lions will help him enjoy a profitable second-half to the season. The talented youngster scored 66 and 36 as the Lions drew with Australia, in their final warm-up match ahead of this year“s Ashes battle against England.

Denly felt it was a big privilege to play against the Aussies and took many positives out of the experience: “It was great to get the opportunity to represent the Lions again and to take on the mighty Australia. I really enjoyed it. Before the game, we spoke about what a great opportunity we had been given. It was good for us lads to earn inclusion in the side and potentially stake our claim if one of the guys in the main England party gets injured. It“s a massive Ashes summer and to play against the best team in the world was great for me. I would like to think that I did pretty well, in front of the watching selectors, so I will take great confidence moving forward.”

So what was it like walking out on the first morning of the match? “It was a great feeling and one that I“m not likely to forget. It did give me a bit of a buzz. I tried not to let it get to me and just wanted to stay as calm as possible but it was an amazing experience. Walking out, and seeing Ricky Ponting alongside me, was pretty special. I“m used to watching him on TV and there I was actually standing next to him! It was a proud moment in my career and I hope I will go on to have many more of them.”

People talk about the Aussies as master ‘sledgers“ so how did Joe find the verbal onslaught? “I quite enjoyed it, to be honest with you. Australia are quite aggressive in the way they bowl and they do let out a few words so I guess it is more challenging technically. Still, I enjoyed it and thrived on it. I really enjoy testing myself against the great players and it was a tremendous opportunity.”

Joe scored a half-century in the first-innings (66) and then followed it up with 36. So how did he rate his contribution in England Lions colours? “I thought I did okay although, I guess, it was disappointing not to really go on because I got myself in both times. I got 60-odd in the first innings and was proud of that knock because Brett Lee was in the middle of one of his world-class spells. He was charging in and bowling lots of good deliveries. I guess I should“ve gone on to get a big one and I then got stuck on the crease in the second innings. Still, I can take lots of positives from the two knocks.”

So will this good form for the Lions help Denly with his Kent career? “Yes, it definitely will. When you are scoring runs, you feel great and I feel like that at the moment. The likes of Brett Lee, Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark are some of the best bowlers in the world. To take runs off them is a great confidence booster for me and I think it will certainly help me with my Kent career, starting against Surrey at the Oval on Friday.”

Picture: Getty Images