|Date: 22 January Time: 20:00 GMT Venue: Kensington Oval, Barbados|
|Coverage: Live text commentary, reports and features on the BBC Sport website and app|
After his hopes of a first England cap were wrecked by Covid last summer, George Garton is hoping this month’s tour of the West Indies proves to be second time lucky.
He is back in national team colours now, though, and hoping to impress in the five-match T20 series against West Indies.
“I was pretty upset,” said Garton, reflecting on last summer’s misfortune. “Through no one’s fault, that chance was taken away.”
It was nothing new for the 24-year-old, who has spent the winter playing in the Big Bash for Adelaide Strikers.
There have been setbacks before, including when Garton spent two years recovering from a freak side injury, having impressed in the nets as bowling cover for England’s Ashes tour in 2017.
Garton tore his side while grabbing his cricket coffin off a carousel at Los Angeles airport, which led to four separate injuries in two years.
He admits those early challenges helped put last summer’s disappointment in perspective.
“If you look at the bigger picture, it wasn’t such an issue,” he explains. “Because of my injuries in the past, I’m able to look at setbacks slightly differently.
“You just have to work hard to get another opportunity.”
It’s clear Garton has done just that.
At Sussex, in a white-ball set-up to envy many, he has shone. Practice has involved nets with numerous stars – Rashid Khan, Tymal Mills, and Jofra Archer all play down in Hove. International cricket then should be a breeze.
“I’ve been very lucky at Sussex,” he adds, on a side who, despite Garton’s 2-24 with ball and 41 with bat, endured a semi-final defeat by eventual champions Kent at last year’s Finals Day.
“We’ve had one of the best white-ball teams in the country for the past few years but haven’t got over the line.
“Sussex has put me in a good position for other tournaments and hopefully international cricket as well.
“There has been criticism that people couldn’t get into a rhythm in either red-ball or white-ball cricket but, in the last couple of years, the formats have been played in blocks. I think that’s helped.
“To completely say the county structure is wrong is doing it a disservice.”
Away from Sussex, there was a new format for the bowling all-rounder to get his head around.
The Hundred was certainly a success for Garton, who won the inaugural edition of the men’s competition with the Southern Brave.
“Having eight teams brought the standard up from the Blast,” he adds. “I thought it was brilliant. Every game was available to watch – and the focus on each game meant no performance went unnoticed.
“With all the coaches involved in franchises around the world, it was a huge opportunity for English talent.”
Without a doubt, Garton was one of those to benefit. His value as a left-arm bowler, and one that can swing both bat and ball, was once again evident.
Three wickets in the eliminator – Dawid Malan, D’Arcy Short, and Alex Hales – led the Brave to a final they would go on to win.
Global franchises took note.
“I was chucked in at the deep end,” says Garton, whose first franchise experience was sharing an Indian Premier League dressing room with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers at the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“I loved it – on and off the field. Hanging out with the best players in the world. People you’ve grown up admiring. It was a bit surreal.”
And while his white-ball rise could see an international debut this month, Garton doesn’t want to stop there.
“I want to play all three formats for England,” he says, firmly.
“I haven’t changed that goal since I was a kid.”