Back for England at 32, Joe Denly out to make second chance count
Joe Denly's success for Kent pitchforked him back into England's plans. @Getty

Back in the England fray for the first time in over eight years, Joe Denly is hopeful that he can make his second coming as an international cricketer count.

Denly, 32, played the last of his nine ODIs in October 2009 and his previous appearance in an England jersey was a T20I in February 2010. During the recent domestic summer, he scored 1729 runs, took 57 wickets and became the first player in T20 history to score a century and claim a hat-trick in the same match. This form earned him a maiden call-up to England’s Test team to tour Sri Lanka, where two days ago Denly was added to the ODI squad as a replacement for the injured Liam Dawson.

“I know I’m 32 now, but for me that’s just a number, I feel as ready as I ever have and I still think my best years are ahead of me,” he told talkSPORT. “The thought never came into my mind (that it was over). If I wasn’t selected it would have been a case of trying to get better and trying to improve on my performances. Hopefully there’s lots more runs and wickets to come.”

Denly recently was named Players’ Player of the Year at the Professional Cricketers Association Awards in London, where he also on for Vitality Blast Player of the Year and Royal London One-Day Cup Player of the Year.

Reflecting on his career trajectory since he made 67 off 111 balls on his ODI debut versus Ireland in 2009, Denly said the way cricket has changed has forced him to move with the times.

“It has changed, it was a long time ago when I was last involved and a lot’s happened since then,” he said. “White-ball cricket especially has developed and changed, the way people approach it. There’s some steady players and some steady teams around, none more so than England.

“Watching the England team develop over the last few years, watching them rise to number one in the world you think it’s going to be a tough gig to get involved. It’s my training session tomorrow so there’s a chance there to try and make an impact, but the team is playing brilliant cricket and are on the back of two very good wins. It’s up to me to stake a claim where I can.”