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Sam Hain insisted he is finding fulfilment from enjoying his cricket with Warwickshire again, rather than being consumed about whether he will be given a chance with England.
Hain boasts the best List A average of all-time by an English batter, while his red-ball numbers have shot up since the start of last year with 1,573 runs at 65.5 in the LV= Insurance County Championship.
A call-up for next month’s Test against Ireland might have been a stretch but Warwickshire recognise his continued omission, tweeting: “It appears the #HainTrain heading to England Selection is delayed.”
England’s middle-order is vaunted across all formats and Hain, who has represented the second-string Lions for many years, adopts a pragmatic outlook and says his only priority is on what he can control.
“Of course I’d love to play for England but it’s not my sole focus,” he told the PA news agency. “My sole focus is to enjoy my cricket and win games for Warwickshire. If I can do that, I’m happy.
“There’s plenty of cricketers on the county circuit who have been on the fringes. I’m very much aware of how strong the England men’s Test side is, the men’s white-ball side have just won a T20 World Cup.
“I’ve really made peace – I’ve tried to go the other way of really wanting to play for England and just found I got lost in the process rather than just try to enjoy it and then whatever will be, will be.
“My downfall was reading every article, I was looking at what people were saying and I got caught up in my own hype a little bit, especially at 18, 19, 20. At 27, I’ve come full circle again where I don’t worry about what people are saying.”
Just look at the way Test cricket is now being played. If you don’t go with the times then you get left behind
One of his mentors in former Warwickshire team-mate Jonathan Trott did not make his England debut until the age of 28, before going on to play in three-Ashes winning series, earning 52 Test and 68 ODI caps.
There are similarities between the pair. Hain in List A cricket, a format he has not consistently played since the Hundred’s inception, often eschewed risk, preferring instead to rotate the strike while his first-class strike-rate of 45.05 might not find favour with Ben Stokes or Brendon McCullum.
“People make me aware of my List A stuff,” he added. “As a player, I’ve improved from then so I’d like to think I’m not the List A player that I used to be. Cricket has changed in that time.
“Just look at the way Test cricket is now being played. If you don’t go with the times then you get left behind.
“It’s all about strike-rates these days but within that you’ve still got to win games for your side, so I guess it’s just trying to find the right balance between the two.
“It’s each to their own and up to the individual how they want to go about it. What does your team need? If you’re 30 for four, what does a team need? It’s a question I ask myself when I’m batting.”
Hain, who has two centuries in five championship matches this season, is set to switch his attention to the Vitality Blast, which starts on Saturday at Edgbaston with a double header as his Birmingham Bears take on Yorkshire after Derbyshire face Lancashire.
Moeen Ali will captain them this year after joining from Worcestershire although he will be unavailable for Saturday’s ‘Blast Off’ event due to his Indian Premier League commitments.
“I think we’re quite blessed to have Mo as captain,” Hain added.
“We’re building a side that’s going to play exciting cricket but also there’s a lot of experience. In those big, high-pressure moments those guys have been there and done it.”
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