Scott Borthwick knows he can expect an exacting debut against Australia if England decide to pitch him into the final Ashes Test at Sydney.
The 23-year-old leg-spinner’s winter in Australia was supposed to come to an end last week before flying home and then on to Sri Lanka with England Lions, but received a last-minute re-instruction to instead join the Test squad following Graeme Swann’s mid-series retirement.
And he, along with fellow spinner James Tredwell – another late call-up following Swann’s exit – is under consideration to be brought in the team for the final Test in Sydney.
The Durham man is well aware the home batsmen will be looking to make his Test debut as tough as possible but Borthwick is ready for the examination should he be selected.
“I see that as a challenge,” he said.
“Leg-spin is hard. You’ve got to accept you are going to bowl bad balls, and blokes are going to come after you.
“You’ve got to accept that and show a bit of fight, try to get competitive and spin the ball past them.
“When batters do come at you, it gives you a chance to get wickets.
“If they do, I’ll accept that challenge … try to spin the ball … and give it my best shot.”
Borthwick believes he has benefited significantly from his short stint in grade cricket.
“I was playing for Northern Districts in Sydney; it was perfect for me,” he said.
“The standard is very good, very competitive. You come across some good players, especially when the state players are involved.”
Borthwick is relishing his unexpected opportunity to be in an Ashes squad.
To date, he has just three limited-overs caps to his name but, like fellow Durham star Ben Stokes, he is determined to make the most of the opportunity.
“It’s just a great feeling for me to be a part of an Ashes tour,” he said.
“I was due to fly home last Monday, and then go on the Lions tour to Sri Lanka. But I got the call from Andy to fly to Melbourne.
“Obviously I’d seen (Swann) had retired, but I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t think I’d be here. But I am now. It’s been an amazing two weeks. I’m thrilled.
“I’ve never played Test cricket before, so don’t know that feeling. It’d be a great opportunity for me (to play), and a great challenge. I’ll take it with both hands and I’ll try my best.”
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