James Vince hopes to capitalise on the withdrawal of Alex Hales and force his way into England’s World Cup plans.
In-form Hampshire batsman Vince is a firm favourite to be involved in the competition after Hales was dramatically dropped from all England squads due to reported use of recreational drugs.
The 28-year-old has the remaining four matches of England’s one-day international series against Pakistan to stake his claim, starting with today’s fixture at his club ground in Southampton. “If he was here I don’t think I’d be here now,” Vince said of Hales. “I’m not going to say too much on his situation, but it has given me an opportunity.
“I was asked earlier this summer about my aspirations for the summer and, as regards white-ball cricket, I said I’d try to do as well as I could for Hampshire to try to be the next cab off the rank.
“It’s great to be back among the lads and I want to push my case to get into that World Cup squad.”
England have until May 23 to finalise their squad for the home tournament with their opening match against South Africa taking place seven days later at the The Oval.
Vince, who made 190 for Hampshire on the day the Hales news broke last month, has already endured frustration in his quest to impress national selector Ed Smith and head coach Trevor Bayliss after the five-match series opener was curtailed by rain on Wednesday. Pakistan reached 80-2 in the 19 overs that were possible, with Vince and fellow fringe player Joe Denly denied auditions before play was abandoned.
Pace bowler Jofra Archer, however, served further notice of his World Cup credentials with a wicket and two maiden overs, and Vince admits competition for places is hotting up.
“It is and Jofra’s not in it (the World Cup squad) at the moment, so I guess there are a few options and a few different balances to the side,” said Vince.
“I’m trying not to think about it too much and if and when I do get an opportunity in this series [he will] try to push my case.
“They’ve played some magnificent cricket and got to No 1 in the world, so it’s been a tough team to break into.”
Vince has previously represented his country at the Ageas Bowl, playing a T20 match against Sri Lanka in July 2016.
But, with opener Jason Roy set to be fit after overcoming a back spasm, he is unsure whether he will be involved this weekend and is considering turning out for his county in the Royal London One Day Cup semi-finals tomorrow.
Asked how many games he would be given in the series, Sussex-born Vince replied: “I guess it depends on what they’re thinking for the World Cup, whether they want to give me game time or whether I’m not part of their plans. At the minute I don’t know a huge amount, but hopefully I’ll get at least one more opportunity in this series.
“I don’t think I’ll be playing [today] because I think Jason’s back.
“We’ve got a one-day semi-final here on Sunday with Hampshire, so if things work out I might be able to get some cricket here then.”
Fellow Hampshire player Liam Dawson remains an outside bet for a World Cup slot.
Vince said: “I can’t see them making too many changes, but there is already one spot in that 15 that’s not been filled so there are options for that.”