Head coach Trevor Bayliss has admitted that he has never seen uncapped rookie Liam Dawson play despite naming the Hampshire all-rounder in England’s squad for the ICC World Twenty20, which starts next month.
The 25-year-old, who bowls left-arm off-spin, was a shock inclusion in England’s 15-man squad, while there was no place for Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes or former T20 skipper Stuart Broad.
Dawson’s progress with the England Lions appears to have convinced selectors to hand him a call-up, and he will shadow the T20 squad next week ahead of two clashes against South Africa in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
“To be honest, I don’t know a lot about him. I haven’t seen him play a game,” said Bayliss. “He came to a practice when we were out in the United Arab Emirates with the Lions and I saw him in the nets.
“From a bowling point of view, he gets a bit on the ball, he looks like he’s got something about him personality-wise and can bat as well and is a good fielder apparently, so I’m looking forward to seeing him close up.”
Dawson was advised of his call-up over the weekend by national selector James Whitaker, and concedes that thoughts of representing England at the World T20 had not crossed his mind.
“He [Whitaker] 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,” said former England Under-19 captain, Dawson. “I definitely wasn’t expecting it. It’s a dream come true. You do all that training as a kid hoping it might happen one day.”