Liam Dawson Ends Test Ambitions, Prioritizes T20 Cricket

Liam Dawson Ends Test Ambitions, Prioritizes T20 Cricket

Liam Dawson, the 34-year-old English spin-bowling all-rounder, has acknowledged that his Test cricket aspirations are over. Dawson, who last played a Test in 2017, was not selected for England’s tour of India this winter, despite being the leading English spinner in last year’s County Championship.

Dawson had previously indicated that he would have to weigh up whether to accept an England call, having agreed a lucrative contract to play for Sunrisers Eastern Cape in the SA20, a tournament that clashed directly with the start of the Test tour. He ultimately chose to prioritize his T20 commitments, a decision he does not regret.

“For me, probably Test cricket now is completely off the radar,” Dawson said. “But it is what it is, I’m 34 and I want to enjoy my cricket and try to win trophies towards the end of my career.”

Dawson has won 20 England caps across three formats going back to 2016, as well as an ODI World Cup winners’ medal in 2019. He was a travelling reserve for both the 2021 and 2022 T20 World Cups, but said he does not expect to be in the mix for this year’s tournament in the Caribbean and USA.

“I think with my age, 34, realistically that’s probably gone to be honest,” Dawson said. “I’m looking forward to playing for Hampshire this season, and the Hundred with London Spirit.”

Dawson’s decision to prioritize T20 cricket reflects the challenge for young English spinners to come through the system. With the rain teeming down in England for much of the year, it can be difficult for spinners to get enough game time to develop their skills.

“Without doubt, it’s very, very difficult,” Dawson said. “If you’re an out-and-out spinner it’s not easy to play in these conditions, the time of the year we play. There’s no ideal scenario, what gives, what doesn’t? When do you play Championship cricket? It’s a tough thing to do.”

Despite the challenges, Dawson believes that England have two promising young spinners in Tom Hartley and Shoaib Bashir, who both impressed on the tour of India.

“They [Hartley and Bashir] did very well,” Dawson said. “They’re good bowlers. I faced Bashir last year here, I thought he was a really good bowler, and the same with Tom Hartley when we played them in Southport, very consistent. Hopefully they can continue to do well.”

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