Briggs: I need to play

Spinner Danny Briggs is looking for more game time in the County Championship with Hampshire to boost his chances of a Test call-up Picture: Neil Marshall
Spinner Danny Briggs is looking for more game time in the County Championship with Hampshire to boost his chances of a Test call-up Picture: Neil Marshall
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Danny Briggs has admitted he could be forced to look elsewhere if his Hampshire first-team opportunities are restricted.

The talented slow left-armer has become a regular member of England’s limited-overs squads but has set his sights on future Test match selection.

Even though he was a key man in the shorter formats for the Royals, pitch conditions and team selection saw the former Ventnor man play only four times in the Championship last season, where he took just five wickets.

But while Briggs picked up three wickets in the opening division two fixture of the season – the draw with Leicestershire – and is expected to retain his place tomorrow when the clash with Worcestershire starts, the 21-year-old knows he has to play regularly if he is to achieve his dream of Test cricket.

‘It was tough last year because ever since I started playing for the first team, I’d played fairly regularly,’ explained Briggs.

‘It’s always hard to miss cricket and it felt like a disjointed year.

‘I played one-day cricket and would then mix and match with the four-day stuff. That was hard to deal with but it was something to learn from and hopefully I will get the nod more consistently this year.

‘Being involved in the one-day internationals and t20 stuff (for England) has been good for me, and one day I would love to be involved in Test cricket.

‘Hopefully, I will earn that chance by playing in every game at Hampshire.

‘Obviously, if you don’t get what you need, you have to find somewhere else where you are going to play.

‘But hopefully that’s not the case because I love playing here at Hampshire and I want to stay.’

Briggs understood the selection process last season and knows it was hard to argue with the decision made by Hampshire manager Giles White and skipper Jimmy Adams when so many pitches were seamer-friendly.

The spin option was also covered by a resurgent Liam Dawson, who ended up with a healthy return of 23 wickets.

But there are also rumours Hampshire have been politely encouraged by the ECB to play Briggs more frequently in the Championship.

Briggs said: ‘The way the wickets were and the way the weather was made it difficult to get selected.

‘Hopefully, it will be a bit different this year and the pitches and the weather will be a bit more dry.

‘I’ve been feeling in some good rhythm going into the season.

‘But I want to be more consistent in four-day cricket.’

Briggs bowled relatively well in the curtain-raiser against Leicestershire, even if the pitch offered him little assistance, and is keen to maintain that this week at the Ageas Bowl.

Perhaps more importantly, he showed no reaction to the ankle injury which ended his involvement in England’s winter tour of New Zealand prematurely.

‘It was a bit of a mixed winter for me,’ said Briggs.

‘I got married, I went out for the England tour and then got injured.

‘I was in the gym doing a step over thing and just went over on my ankle badly.

‘I knew it felt quite bad at the time.

‘But it’s been fine since. The rehab has gone well and it’s been well timed because I was back in time to go out to Barbados during pre-season and bowled a lot of overs out there.

‘I’ve got some strapping on it but it’s just precautionary. It feels 100 per cent to me.

‘It’s my right ankle so it’s my front foot, but I don’t feel it when I bowl.

‘It feels as strong as it did before.’