Chittagong: He may be the oldest player on the pitch but 39-year-old Gareth Batty admitted he was nervous as any youngster on Friday during his Test comeback after over a decade in the wilderness.
The England offspinner was a shock call-up for the Bangladesh tour but he vindicated the selectors' decision on day two of the first Test by taking the vital wicket of Tamim Iqbal with a smart piece of bowling.
He clenched his fists and roared with delight as dangerman Tamim edged a slightly quicker ball from Batty through to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow after making 78, his fifth half century against England.
"Unfortunately that's just me," the feisty Batty told reporters when quizzed about his celebrations after the day's play.
"I suppose when you're just an average player, you enjoy every little bit of success. I felt like I'd set him up a little bit and hopefully skidded it through and it's nice to get very good players out."
Batty spent the first day of the Test in Chittagong in the pavilion as England's top order batted but he got his chance at the crease by coming in at number 11 and was unbeaten on one at the end of the innings.
He was then straight back in the action after being asked to open the bowling for the first time in his 18-year first class career.
"It was nerve-wracking, I don't mind admitting that," he said.
"I haven't felt like that for years, if ever. But that's a good thing -- you're alive. If the nerves are jangling and you've got an England shirt on, wow, what a place to be!
"I've never bowled with the new ball which added to the nerves. My first ball was a bit of a pie as well so it was nice to get that one out the way. There were a few decent balls and a few balls to get better."
Since playing the last of his seven Tests back in 2005, Batty has had to look on from afar from the county circuit as the likes of Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar were chosen ahead of him as England's spinners.
But Batty kept plugging away and says he has become a smarter bowler in the intervening years, never too old to learn new tricks.
"In my own mind I feel like I can do things that I maybe couldn't have done back then," said the Yorkshire-born Surrey player.
"Now whether that works is a different matter but certainly getting different skill sets, understanding how you're going to go about situations, 100 percent."
Batty had high praise for his fellow spinner Moeen Ali who bowled opener Imrul Kayes for 21 off his very first ball and then had Mominul Haque caught by Stokes at slip for a duck.
"When the ball goes quicker the batsman cannot change his mind. So if you get it in the right area then yes -- Mo's two wickets were magnificent balls, and were bowled at good pace," he said.
"The downside of that is when you are just a fraction full you can punch through the line a bit more. It’s a question of varying your pace, but for your wicket taking balls, a quicker one that spins big is a good ball to bowl."
Published Date: Oct 22, 2016 12:00 pm | Updated Date: Oct 22, 2016 12:00 pm