Matt Parkinson admits he was “devastated” to spend another winter watching England from the edge of the border and believes the county playgrounds are hampering deer development.
The Lancashire spinner traveled downhill with the Lions during the fateful Ashes Series in England, without being the first team, before being selected for the Test round in the West Indies but failed to get a game.
Having experienced a similar situation on the subcontinent last winter, traveling in Covid-secure bubbles without taking to the field, it would be easy for Parkinson to lose heart.
“Obviously I was frustrated not to play again,” said the 25-year-old.
“I got close to the second test in Barbados and then the media reported that I might play in Grenada. But the guys went to training and said it was a green top, so it was hard to take.
“The only thing that saved me, I think, was that it was the first time I had been away with the England team thinking I was guaranteed a place.
“He came in the background of a decent season with Lancashire, and I wasn’t just named into the team as a reserve or substitute for Covid.
“That was cute and kept me going.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever felt comfortable in my own skin, knowing that what I’m doing is good enough to be there. It’s now up to them as to the choice.”
Parkinson insists he will be able to do it again, adding: “Yes, I think I can. There are worse places than being in the England squad.
“Now Covid is opening up, it would be more sustainable to do that.
“I hope that every time they see me, they think I’ve improved and I’m closer to playing.
“I can’t dictate the choice. All I can do is make a bid for Lancashire, which I did last season.
“I’m still confident (a test call will come in). But it’s hard to keep getting up for flights if you don’t participate again.
“I may not participate again until winter. I say goodbye to the guys and not see them again until October.
“It’s tough and it feels out of place. But the thing I can control is my performance in Lancashire. That’s enough for me.
“If the test cap comes on, great. If it doesn’t, I have enough here in Lancashire to have a good career.”
Parkinson, who has played five one-day internationals and four internationals in T20, is keen to develop his game, improving hitting and fielding as well as enhancing his skills with the ball.
“I am trying to increase the top speed. I think I am getting a little faster, but I am trying to take that to the next level.”
“Googlies, slider, etc. It’s not one thing I’m thinking of, ‘If I do that, I’ll play for England.’ It’s the whole package.”
“I am very lucky. I am one of the few players in the country who will play 90% of the matches. I hope so anyway.
“I never focused on getting into the test side or focused on getting into the white ball side.”
The Lancashire engine finds itself behind Jack Leach of Somerset in the test run standings, but the left arm has been squeezed after a grueling winter.
Parkinson notched 36 wickets in the county championship last season with an impressive average of 20.55.
But he believes there is more work to be done to promote bowling in England and ensure players get their chance.
“It’s a topic that I feel very strongly about,” Parkinson said.
“It’s tough because the Spinners coming up now, they’re all in clubs where you think the Spinners should play every game.
“They all had good records when they played, all they need is to play consistently. Then, in two or three years, you’ll have a bunch of spinners who have all played 60 or 70 games and taken a share consistently.
“You have a general boycott tailor who has played 60 or 70 games because he’s part of a four-man attack. I’m 26 and I’ve played 35 games. You never get better if you don’t play.
“I think there has to be a shift towards flat field production to bring spinners into the game.”