Scott Borthwick is eager for big test

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FACING three of England’s finest batsmen may be a daunting prospect for most, but Durham ace Scott Borthwick can’t wait to get started.

The Sunderland-born leg spinner is part of the national elite development squad, which heads out to a specialist training camp in India on Monday.

Among the tour party are England skipper Andrew Strauss, wicket-keeper Matt Prior and batsman Eoin Morgan, and Borthwick can’t wait to bowl at the top trio.

He said: “I’ve bowled at them in the nets before, and know what top, top players they are.

“It’s a great challenge to bowl at players of their ability, and one which I’m really looking forward to.”

Both Strauss and Prior are capable of putting any bowling attack in the world to the sword on their day, but Borthwick expects the flamboyant Morgan to pose the toughest challenge.

“They are all great players, but Morgan is something else,” he said. “He has so many shots in his locker that it is very difficult to know where to bowl at him.

“Sometimes I think you feel as if you need an extra fielder just to try to keep him tied down.

“He is capable of putting the ball anywhere on the field, and usually does!”

Despite knowing that he faces a tough time out in India, Borthwick certainly isn’t shirking from the challenge.

“You want to play against the best players because you want to test yourself,” he added. “The best way to improve your game and skills is to keep pushing yourself and working hard against top batsmen.”

The Durham star is looking forward to returning to the sub-continent, despite being part of the England squad which suffered a 5-0 one-day international whitewash in India last month.

The 21-year-old old featured in one of the five encounters – the fourth one-day clash, which England lost by six wickets – scoring just three and returning 0-59 with the ball.

However, he fared much better in an England v India XI clash just under a fortnight earlier in Hyderabad. The youngster spun his way to excellent figures of 5-31 from a 10-over spell, which helped his side to a 253-run victory.

Borthwick is hoping for a happy return with the development squad.

“Obviously it was disappointing to get beat 5-0, but it was a fantastic to be part of the England squad,” he said.

“It was great to play and train alongside, cricketers who had helped make England the No 1 team in the world.

“Taking the five wickets was a great experience, and hopefully I can kick on from there.

“I want to be the best player I can be and, like any young lad, I always dreamed of playing for my country.

“The fact that I have had a taste of it now just makes me hungry for more.

“I’m in the development squad, which is fantastic, and it’s up to me to make the most of the opportunity.

“Hopefully, I can keep working hard and doing well and keep getting myself noticed by the selectors.

“It’s a great feeling to pull on that England shirt, and one I hope to keep enjoying for years to come.”

Borthwick also believes that while being part of the national set-up is helping him on a personal level, it can also be of benefit to his county side.

He said: “Bowling against better players and in different and challenging conditions has got to be good for my development.

“I feel as if I’m learning all of the time, and improving as a cricketer and as a person.

“Playing with the England development squad can only be a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

“If I can enjoy a good winter with England hopefully it will mean that I’m firing on all cylinders when the county season starts.”