World Cup call would be perfect tonic for Shahzad

YORKSHIRE's Ajmal Shahzad believes he would offer "a little bit of everything" if he is selected in England's World Cup squad later this week.

England will name their 15-man list for next month's World Cup tomorrow with Shahzad one of the players on the fringes of selection.

The 25-year-old has played just five one-day internationals, but his inclusion in the tour of Australia indicates the England selectors are assessing his worth.

He did himself no harm in Sunday's six-wicket defeat to Australia in Melbourne when he was the best performing seam bowler on a slow pitch which mirrored those expected on the sub-continent.

With Stuart Broad and James Anderson, who were absent in Melbourne, set to be England's first-choice quicks at the World Cup, Shahzad out-performed his immediate rivals, including county team-mate Tim Bresnan, at the MCG to give him hope his call will come.

"I don't know what the selectors are going to do in regards to the World Cup squad," he said.

"I'd love to be in there and keep learning and keep progressing. I think I would bring a little bit of everything.

"With regards to the ball, I can control the reverse swing in the sub-continent, that will be a key factor for us.

"It's about me just keeping it tight and bowling at the death. I think I've shown what I can do opening the bowling and coming on at the end.

"I've also been working hard on my fielding and my all-round game. I bring a lot of energy.

"Hopefully I can give the coaches and selectors other options. I'll guess we'll see in the next couple of days."

Shahzad also showed he is capable with the bat in the latter overs at the MCG when he drove Brett Lee for a straight six.

"It was nice hitting one of the best quick bowlers in the world over his head for six. It was a good feeling," he added.

"It showed I can come in late on and hit a few balls out of the ground.

"For me I need to spend some time at the crease. I haven't had a bat for a long time."

Shahzad has spent long periods of the tour on the sidelines after he was unused during the Ashes success.

Sunday's match was his fourth in a row since the tour has turned to the coloured clothing of the limited overs matches – a run he admits that has fuelled his confidence.

But with limited international experience the Huddersfield-born player admits he needs more games before he will be producing what he feels he is capable of.

"I haven't played a lot of matches for England," he added. "It's a confidence-lifting feeling to get a few under the belt back-to-back rather than just getting called in now and again.

"I want to get a run and make the most of it. Personally, I thought I did okay last night.

"I'm starting to feel as though I'm getting into a better rhythm now in regards to everything.

"It's been frustrating and difficult just to bowl at batsmen in the nets. There's only so much you can do.

"My batting, my bowling and my fielding – I feel like I belong on the pitch now. Hopefully, I can get a decent run and show what I have got to offer."

After spending so long on the sidelines, Shahzad admitted he felt for veteran Paul Collingwood after he was omitted from the side in Melbourne.

After the game, captain Andrew Strauss confirmed the 34-year-old had been dropped from the side due to his poor tour with the bat. While Collingwood has averaged just 13.12 in international matches since arriving in Australia, the decision to leave him out came as a slight surprise after being one of England's best one-day batsman over the past two years.

Collingwood enjoyed a stellar series in South Africa 12 months ago and has averaged 43.03 with the bat in the past 24 months.

But with so many of England's batsmen in top form in Australia, Shahzad said the competition for places meant no player could afford to be comfortable.

"Colly being dropped, it was the selectors' decision and shows they will only put out the best XI on the pitch," he said.

"It's a good environment to be in – it's very competitive and it keeps everyone on their toes.

"I've been sat outside the Ashes and not been involved. I think the lads have been performing to the best of their abilities because we have been putting the pressure on them."

India have named Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir in their 15-man squad for the World Cup despite the trio returning home during their ongoing South Africa series after picking up injuries.

Tendulkar flew to India after sustaining a hamstring injury during India's one-run victory against South Africa on Saturday in the second one-day international.

Sehwag and Gambhir had pulled out of the series through injury and the bowling attack in the one-day series was also left depleted after injuries to Praveen Kumar and Shantha Sreesanth, who is omitted from the World Cup squad with the other four expected to be fit.