Rawlins still eyeing England call-up
Delray Rawlins says he would be lying if he did not have his eyes set on an international future with England in the long run, but his immediate priority is firmly focused on making history with Bermuda.
Rawlins, 22, joined up with his countrymen this week, ahead of their first global ICC qualifying event in six years, aiming to fire Bermuda to only their second world ICC tournament in the country’s history and the first since featuring at the 2007 World Cup.
He does so on the back of a breakthrough campaign with Sussex County Cricket Club in England, where Rawlins scored a maiden first-class hundred and hit a second Vitality Blast half-century of his career in rare moments of hope in an otherwise gloomy season for the county.
Rawlins has previously represented England, making an impressive bow for his country of residence for the past seven years during an under-19s tour to India at the start of 2017. There, Rawlins scored a match-winning 107 not out on his under-19 ODI debut for England, before hitting 140 in the first innings of the second youth Test between the two nations.
It was a statement of intent from the then 19-year-old and although he is fully invested in taking Bermuda to the promised land of the 2020 T20 World Cup, Rawlins harbours dreams of becoming a full England international at some stage.
“I’ve thought about it, obviously. I’d be lying if I said no,” Rawlins told The Royal Gazette when asked about a potential future with England.
“I’ve played England Under-19s and that puts it in the back of your head. I managed to have a pretty good tour with them and that was something big for me going forward in an England set-up.
“I don’t really think about it a great deal, I just let performing for Sussex and Bermuda drive me and drive what I want to achieve. If I’m doing the right things and what is required of me then those other things will take care of themselves in the long run.”
Rawlins has plenty of inspiration, too.
He has just witnessed at close quarters his fellow transatlantic county team-mate Jofra Archer, who was quick to congratulate Rawlins on social media for his ton against Lancashire, capture his adopted country’s imagination in leading them to World Cup glory, while USA Cricket all-rounder Hayden Walsh Jr has just earned a West Indies call-up thanks to barnstorming performances in the Caribbean Premier League.
The latter, who like Rawlins holds a dual passport and has earned senior West Indies recognition through stellar performances in T20 cricket and in the world of Associate Cricket, is a particularly pertinent example.
“I’m in a very good position in terms of [carrying a British passport] and being able to have the choice to come back and play for my country and, I obviously don’t have the choice to play for England at the moment, but hopefully a few years down the line it does become a choice and ends up with me being selected,” Rawlins said.
“Hopefully there will come a time when I’m ready and I can play for England and get the badge on again. We obviously played against Hayden in Bermuda [at the ICC Americas qualification tournament for this event in the UAE] and we saw his qualities there. He was the go-to man for them there and he’s paving a pathway for players like myself who can do what he’s done with dual nationality.”
If his previous campaign with Sussex is anything to go by then Bermuda’s record highest T20I run-scorer may not be too far off England’s thoughts.
Rawlins’s County Championship century in the defeat to Lancashire in July helped Sussex take a rare positive out of three heavy defeats on the spin, while his 58 in the final innings of the season brought home his new-found importance to the side in four-day cricket.
And now, the left-hander is hoping to take that form into Bermuda’s qualifying campaign that starts against Papua New Guinea in Dubai on Saturday morning.
“As far as my career so far with Sussex, I’d say that’s the best summer I’ve had,” he added.
“I managed to solidify a slot in the longer format and continue to help contribute in T20 as well, which was pleasing for myself and it’s something to build on for next year.
“Hopefully, it’s something I can bring into this tournament for Bermuda as well.
“I would say, for me, this is the best group I’ve played with in my short career with Bermuda so far.
“If we can create something special and get to the next stage at the World Cup, it would be probably the best feeling I’ve had in my life so far. I’m looking forward to it and the boys are ready to go, ready to show off their talent.”
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