Maurice Chambers is thrilled with the prospect of spending the next few weeks in Australia as a member of England’s development squad although he admits his surprise that Essex colleague Ravi Bopara is not among the 16-man party.
“It’s bad that Ravi is not going out there as well,” the fast bowler told BBC Essex before leaving for Australia.
“I’m not really sure what that’s all about although I know that he’s going to play in South Africa. But if I was him, I’d want to be in Australia just in case any of the players in the Test squad got injured and he’s the next in line.”
And should injury strike any of the fast bowlers in the full international squad this winter, the 23-year-old is mindful that he is one of those potentially ready to step into the breach.
“There are five fast bowlers in the development squad and, should anything happen, any one of the five of us could be called-up,” he added.
In the meantime, Chambers is excited about the prospects of taking the next step in his career development. “It’s an opportunity to be around England players and to work with different coaches and improve my game to take it to the next level,” he said.
Chambers made giant strides forward in his career last year, turning potential and promise into achievement as he took 32 County Championship wickets at 25.81 including a career-best match haul of 10 for 123 against Nottinghamshire. “It was my first ten-for and is something I’ll always remember,” he added.
Born in Jamaica, Chambers first started playing back home when he was seven, before his mother bought him over to England at the age of 14. He admits that his yearning as a teenager was to play for West Indies and it is of little surprise, given his Caribbean roots, that West Indies greats Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh are two of his heroes.
However, watching the 2005 Ashes series had such an effect on him that he decided to switch his loyalties to England. “I really wanted to be a part of it so much that my heart changed straight away,” he revealed.
“I really want to play for England but I know that, at the end of the day, it’s about what you do for your county in order to get onto the next stage.
“But this trip to Australia is a big step for me and I can’t wait for things to get underway.”