James Vince has already made a near perfect start to his international career, and is hoping it can be the launchpad to a Test future.
The 24-year-old has just one series to his name to date, in which his consistency helped England to a 3-0 Twenty20 triumph over Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates three months ago.
His 125 runs in England’s top three came at an average pushing 42, and strike rate of almost 120 – enough to make him player-of-the-seres in the desert.
As Lions captain, Vince then stayed on in Dubai either side of Christmas, and has since had his first taste of franchise cricket there with Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League.
Anyone supposing he is therefore likely to prove a white-ball specialist, however, could be mistaken.
“I want to play all formats for England ideally,” said Vince. “My way in has been through Twenty20, but I’d like to progress to the one-day and Test sides.”
Vince did not consider himself ready for Indian Premier League exposure when he had the option of joining this month’s annual auction, but, in any case, he will have other priorities at the start of next summer.
“I’m not sure my game’s quite where it needs to be to be picked up in the IPL anyway,” he said.
“But it’s my first season as club captain of Hampshire – so I want to go back there, score some runs and get their season off to a good start and try to push my case for the Test side.”
He is expected to have another chance to impress when England make the short trip from their Cape Town base to Paarl to take on South Africa A this afternoon, in their only Twenty20 warm-up fixture before two international matches to end their tour here on February 19 and 21. There will then be just a short break at home, before Eoin Morgan’s ICC World Twenty20 squad departs for India early next month.
Vince has had a wealth of relevant experience this winter, in Asian conditions, including with Karachi. He said: “It was a pretty good competition, and I played quite a bit of cricket in a short space of time, so it was good preparation for what’s to come in India.
“It was good to play as an overseas player and experience different people in the dressing room, that sort of thing.”
Vince is reunited with fellow World Twenty20 call-up Liam Dawson, not only a county team-mate but one he has known since they were playing junior cricket at Wiltshire club Chippenham.
England (possible, v South Africa A at Boland Park, 4pm): EJG Morgan (capt), JJ Roy, JM Vince, MM Ali, JC Buttler (wkt), SW Billings, CR Woakes, CJ Jordan, AU Rashid, DJ Willey, RJW Topley.