Ben Duckett is embracing the opportunity to don the Three Lions shirt for the upcoming white-ball series in West Indies, with spots to fight for with the onset of a fresh World Cup cycle.
The Nottinghamshire left-hander has been included in both the ODI and T20I squads for fixtures in the Caribbean across December.
It marks his first return to limited-overs action away from home since a tour of South Africa in January, having also been on white-ball tours to Pakistan and Bangladesh within the last 15 months.
He is aware, though, of the difficulty inking his name into England’s starting line up, and determined, as a result, to enjoy the moment.
“I just think it’s a massive opportunity to show what we can do,” Duckett said.
“I’ve been around and not around the white-ball group for the past however many years and it’s been impossible to break into, so for me personally I’m just buzzing to get a go and be out here.
“I know how difficult it is to stay in a team when there’s this many players and I think the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last 12 to 15 months is not to think too far ahead.
“I’m genuinely just thinking about the next three weeks.”
In September, Duckett scored his maiden ODI ton against Ireland at Bristol from just 72 deliveries.
In that series – which England won 1-0 after a triumph at Trent Bridge – he was named vice captain.
It followed a landmark summer for the 29-year-old, during which scored 321 runs in nine Ashes innings, including a top score of 99 not out at Lord’s.
He was omitted from the squad for the World Cup, which began a few weeks after his Ireland heroics, but admits the gap in cricket has revitalised him as he heads into his first year as a centrally contracted player.
“I don’t think there is ever a good time to miss a World Cup. It could be the only opportunity I have,” he said.
“That same group of players could go out there and win that World Cup at a different time. It was tough to watch at times and I’m watching mates go out there and struggle. It was really difficult.
“[But] I have had six weeks to kind of take a breather – it has been a big 12 months for me – and it might actually be quite refreshing. I feel raring to go now.
“I think for each and every one of us it’s important to perform. I need to go and prove that I’m good enough to be on this team and so do the other guys.”
“We don’t feel pressure, you know? I think fresh is a good word. A group of players who can go and showcase what we can do.”
West Indies vs England Schedule
1st ODI: West Indies v England – 3 December, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua
2nd ODI: West Indies v England – 6 December, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua
3rd ODI: West Indies v England – 9 December, Kensington Oval, Barbados
1st T20I: West Indies v England – 12 December, Kensington Oval, Barbados
2nd T20I: West Indies v England – 14 December, Grenada National Stadium, Grenada
3rd T20I: West Indies v England – 16 December, Grenada National Stadium, Grenada
4th T20I: West Indies v England – 19 December, Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Trinidad
5th T20I: West Indies v England – 21 December, Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Trinidad