Josh Tongue says it is a “dream come true” to be selected in England’s XI for the second Test against Australia at Lord’s, starting on Wednesday.
It was only earlier this month the 25-year-old fast bowler made his Test debut, against Ireland at Lord’s, and Tongue did not feature in England’s agonising two-wicket defeat by Australia in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston last week.
But he has replaced off-spinner Moeen Ali in an all-seam attack after being chosen ahead of express quick Mark Wood, whose career has been blighted by injuries.
Tongue only learned he would be playing in the second of a five-match series against arch-rivals Australia prior to England’s practice session on Tuesday.
“Finding out today in the huddle before training was an amazing feeling,” he said. “I’ve dreamed as a young kid growing up about playing in an Ashes series so to get the nod now is that dream come true.”
Tongue took five wickets on debut against Ireland, his extra speed a point of difference on a docile pitch.
“I knew the step up from county cricket to international cricket would be a big one, and playing here at Lord’s was a very special moment for myself having never played here before,” he said.
“To then get five wickets against Ireland on my debut was an incredible feeling and should give me confidence ahead of another chance against Australia.”
Tongue did spend the first two days of the match at Edgbaston in England’s dressing room before leaving to play for county side Worcestershire.
And having heard the roar of the crowd when England’s Zak Crawley hit the first ball of that Test for four, Tongue cannot wait to be involved.
“Obviously, that first ball that Zak hit to the boundary, the noise was just unbelievable,” he said.
“I’d never heard anything like it and just being in the dressing room for the start of the game was a great environment,” added Tongue, who was also grateful for the support he has received from England captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum.
“Right from the first moment I stepped into the dressing room ahead of the Ireland game, I’ve been made to feel so welcome,” he said. “And coming into the side now for the next Test I feel like I can add a bit more pace and bounce to the attack and hopefully I can get a few wickets for the team as well.
“Whatever Stokesy asks me to do for the team, I’m here to do it as best I can.”
© Agence France-Presse