Richard Gleeson looking ahead to autumn's T20 World Cup

‘You want to play in the big occasions’: England debutant Richard Gleeson looking ahead to autumn’s T20 World Cup after making stunning international berth against India at Edgbaston

  • Richard Gleeson dismissed three of India’s best players at Edgbaston
  • Former factory worker looking ahead to further exploits with England
  • Bowler says that England wasn’t on his radar after taking three wickets on debut

Richard Gleeson endured a bittersweet England debut that has left the former boiler factory worker dreaming of performing in the heat of a World Cup.

Gleeson, who at 34 became England’s oldest debutant since Paul Nixon in 2007, returned outstanding figures of 4-1-15-3 in the 49-run loss to number one-ranked India that consigned his Lancashire team-mate Jos Buttler to defeat in his first series as permanent white-ball captain.

India’s stellar triumvirate of Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant were the victims in a four-ball spell that showed the former minor counties fast bowler could step up to challenge the best on the global scene.

Richard Gleeson took three wickets – including that of Rishabh Pant – on his England debut

His call-up came just three months shy of the World Cup in Australia and of the prospect of making that tournament, the Blackpool-born bowler said: ‘You want to play in the big occasions, don’t you? So, yeah, why not? 

‘I’ll just look towards the next game and go from that, I think.’

Such an occurrence would represent another chapter in Gleeson’s astonishing story – until 27 when he made his first-class debut against Australia as a trialist with Northamptonshire, he had not played professionally. In those days, he combined matches with Cumberland in the summer by earning money in a boiler factory in the winter.

Gleeson also removed Virat Kohli and captain Rohit Sharma to end with figures of 3-15

‘England wasn’t on my radar, it was just about trying to reach the highest level that I could and I have got to here so far,’ Gleeson said.

Until this March, when Lancashire offered him a Twenty20 contract for this season, there were fears that a stress fracture of the back might force him into retirement.

But he has come back strongly, is the leading English wicket-taker in this year’s Vitality Blast with 23 wickets, has opened talks at Emirates Old Trafford about a new deal and continued his form on the biggest stage with his removal of India’s top trio.

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