LUKE Wright has made himself an invaluable Twenty20 asset to England, but it is a route back into one-day international cricket that is his biggest ambition for 2013.
The 27-year-old has emphatically restated his case as an inked-in short-format player for his country over the past five months, and was one of the stars of a spectacular show on Saturday in England’s record-breaking 40-run victory over New Zealand.
Yet it is almost two years ago, in England’s ten-wicket World Cup quarter-final trouncing at the hands of Sri Lanka in Colombo, that the all-rounder won the last of his 46 ODI caps.
Wright’s stock as a Twenty20 specialist rose via stints at the Indian Premier League, Australia’s Big Bash and also in New Zealand.
On current form, he is perhaps one of the first names on the England team sheet – and showed why again on Saturday at Eden Park, where his 42 from just 20 balls at number three contained four sixes and then for good measure he took two for 29.
The catch is, though, that with every outstanding Twenty20 performance he produces he runs perhaps a greater risk of being pigeon-holed a specialist and potentially therefore moves no nearer to a 50- over return.
“I have huge ambitions to get back in the one-day side,’’ he said. “It’s something I’m desperate to do.
“That’s why last summer I was so pleased to get those (three) Pro40 hundreds (for Sussex). I just have to score runs when I play in that form of the game. That’s all I can do.’’ Wright must hope that runs and wickets for his county, along with continued Twenty20 form for his country – and an appropriate word now and then in the ear of England’s new limited-overs coach Ashley Giles – will somehow do the trick.
“If I get pigeon-holed, I can’t do a lot about that.
“I’ve just got to keep knocking on the door, and keep badgering ‘Gilo’ and saying ‘Look mate, I’m scoring runs – what have I got to do?’ “If there’s a spot for me, I hope he’ll pick me. If there isn’t, I can’t do much else.
‘‘Maybe come the end of the tour, it might be something I could sit down and have a chat with him about, to find out what he wants to see from me or where I can improve and give myself better chances to get in.’’ Wright is well aware, however, that it will not be easy to oust some highly-talented incumbents.
“It’s quite tough obviously at the top of the order – with KP, Cookie, Belly and Trotty to come back in. “But I’d like to come into that middle order if there’s no role for me at the top, and obviously my bowling might help.”
He can do himself a favour by helping England close out victory in a series they lead 1-0 with two to play, but knows that will be far from easy.
“We went into the game under no illusions about how strong New Zealand are in this format, and knew we had to be right at the top of our game to beat them.
“Every time a batter came out last night, you saw again how dangerous they are.
“They’ll come back stronger in the next game, plan again and come back harder. So we’ll have to be that little bit better.
“These guys are so dangerous.
You only need one of them to come off, and it changes the game.
“So we’ve got to back it up again on Tuesday.’’