I may not have won the £157m Euromillions lottery this week, but being called up to represent Team GB at next month’s Maccabiah Games is simply beyond my wildest dreams.
This all appeared little more than a pipe dream 12 months ago when I was lying on a hospital bed following surgery, but I like a challenge …
I’d never given up hope of representing my country on the cricket pitch for a second crack at the Jewish Olympics and I’m delighted that my efforts to regain form and fitness have been rewarded.
My family are incredibly proud of my selection and I hope I can help the team bring home a medal, just as we did in 2005.
I’ve already been involved in some punishing training sessions, under the watchful eye of our coach, David Nash, the former Middlesex player. My teammate, Dan Cohen, who plays for Radlett, is convinced Nashy and I were separated at birth, but I’m looking forward to finding out more about all the boys before we set foot on the plane in a couple of weeks.
All the boys know it’s vital we go that extra mile now to ensure we’re in the best possible shape for the matches in Israel.
The more experienced members of Adam Brand’s squad will tell you that Maccabiah cricket is a case of survival of the fittest as it’s not always fun being out in the middle for 100 overs, in scorching temperatures.
Holders South Africa will be the favourites once more in a six-team competition and we couldn’t have asked for a tougher first match, especially as it comes less than 24 hours after the Opening Ceremony.
As part of my preparations, I’m trying to squeeze in as much cricket as possible to ensure I arrive at the crease in good touch. My most recent outing came for Old Merchant Taylors in the Thames Valley League.
Having lined up alongside a young Andrew Caddick at Hampstead CC and Sri Lanka star Angelo Mathews, I was blown away by the quality of OMT all-rounder Vikas Dixit.
The 16-year-old wonder kid claimed seven wickets with some top-quality offspin and hit a quickfire 30-odd in the win over Maidenhead & Bray. The boy is a big talent and most definitely one to watch.
l Team USA rarely misses a trick when it comes to the Maccabiah and their athletes received a major boost when none other than President Barak Obama recorded a good luck message for their 1,130-strong delegation.
I’ve yet to see it, but rest assured the strapline will be along the lines of ‘Yes we can!’