Matthew Fisher says playing four back-to-back County Championship matches for Yorkshire last month was a significant milestone in his career and has left him brimming with confidence ahead of his forthcoming England Lions commitments.
The White Rose fast bowler has been named in the Lions 14-man squad to tour Australia for six weeks through November and into December.
Fisher, 23, will be part of the group shadowing the senior England squad during the first half of the Ashes Test series.
The only Yorkshire representative in the party, Fisher will join ex-county colleague Alex Lees, the Durham opening batter, who has also earned a call-up.
A precocious bowling talent, Fisher has had well documented struggles with injuries during the early stages of his career.
However, last month, he was exceptional in claiming 18 wickets, including a career best match haul of 9-64 in the two-day win over Somerset at Scarborough.
“I felt like I had two really good games where I was happy with how I bowled (Hampshire and Somerset) and two others where there were things for me to pick up on and learn from,” he said.
“But, getting through four games was a massive tick in the box for me and everyone at Yorkshire.
“It showed I can back it up with bowling in my legs from the middle of the summer.
“Even though it was just white ball cricket I was playing, it does get overs into your body. That allowed me to play those four games back-to-back.
“Going forwards in my career, it’s a massive confidence boost. I won’t now have the anxiety of, ‘Am I going to get through this game?’
“Then you don’t put as much into the game as you’d want because of your body.
“Now I can hopefully just let loose a bit more and show what I can really do.”
Fisher continued: “With the pandemic, the shortened summer last year and not being able to get on the park for most of this, it’s brilliant to be able to get this call-up.
“September almost felt like the start of the season for me, so it was a bit disappointing when it all finished. Now this has happened, it’s really good for me.
“It’s going to be a great experience.
“The Lions squad is very strong, but we’ll be around a lot of the Ashes preparation.
“Going out there and being close to some of England’s best ever bowlers, it would be unbelievable if I could chat to Broad and Anderson. That would be a bit of a dream come true, and hopefully I can learn a few things along the way.”
Fisher will be in Australia between November 4 and December 16, with two intra-squad games scheduled with the Ashes party and another fixture pencilled in against Australia A.
Especially given the way of the world at the minute, it is not completely inconceivable that the Sheriff Hutton Bridge star could yet play a part in the Ashes.
“I told my family when I got the call a few days ago, and my cousin did message me and say, ‘Is there any chance you could play in the Ashes if there were a few injuries?’” Fisher said.
“To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about that.
“I guess there is a slim chance of it happening if you bowl well in a squad game, get five wickets and there’s a few injuries. You never know.
“But I can’t control that. What I can control is my preparation. I will be training as hard as if it was the start of the season with Yorkshire.”
This is Fisher’s second taste of Lions cricket. He first played in the summer of 2018, featuring in six games against the West Indies and India, including a Test Match against the latter.
He said: “My career has always been a bit stop-start, and I’ve always shown promise.
“I got picked in the Lions when I was 21 and felt like I bowled well in the Test Match, which was when I cut my toe badly.
“When I got picked, I just wanted to stay in that environment because you learn so fast being around the players you’re around. But I got injured and have had to work hard to get back there.
“I’m so grateful they’ve picked me again and have seen the potential from how I bowled down at Southampton and Scarborough last month.
“The way I bowled at Durham immediately when we came back from Covid last year and then again at Scarborough, it’s shown I’ve got those sorts of spells in me. If I can produce them more often, that’s where I’ll make the strides forward.”
This will be Fisher’s second trip to Australia. As a teenager, he played winter grade cricket in Adelaide. On this trip, Fisher will be Queensland based and will go through quarantine on the Gold Coast.
And on the call-up of his former team-mate Lees, Fisher added: “I’m buzzing for him.
“Leesy’s done well consistently since he’s gone to Durham, which is a tough place to bat. He’s probably been one of the most consistent openers in the country over the last two or three years.
“People always move on even though you never really want them to. It’s just what happens in sport.
“It will be nice to spend a bit more time with him again.”