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Youre scared about this, arent you?My first inkling that the Australian selectors had my name in mind for England 2013 came via Victorias coach Greg Shipperd, a few days before I was due to leave for another winter with Middlesex. We met for a coffee in March, around the time the Test team were being beaten badly in India and the team was being riven by Homeworkgate - four players suspended for not completing a written assignment.Amid conversation about those dramas, Shippy stopped me with these words: Mate, I think you should take your baggy green with you this time. Via the talent management system that linked the state selection panels to Cricket Australia, the coaches were speaking a lot more to the national selectors, and so this felt a lot more significant than it might have been in the past.I wasnt taking anything for granted. I knew that Shippy had always been a passionate advocate for Victorian players being promoted to the national side, and his encouragement had not always led to selection. But on the strength of that advice, I took the cap out of a cupboard at home and took it to my parents house, thinking that if the call did come, they would be on their way over to see it all happen.After travelling back to London and reconnecting with Middlesex and Lords, I became aware that there seemed a lot more media buzz than usual about my chances of being chosen. That was when I started to think ok, Im more than likely going to be in here. Late April rolled around and the announcement of the team was coming up. One morning I was doing a fitness session at the Finchley indoor centre, and was a little puffed after a beep test. Looking at my phone, I noticed a missed call. The voicemail was from John Inverarity, asking me to call back.Within a few minutes I was outside and on the phone, hearing John say the words, Yes Chris youre in, weve chosen you for your skills over there and youll be a really good chance to play. Keep doing what youre doing. He assured me I didnt have to do much different, simply to keep playing with Middlesex and warming into the domestic season. Then he added a warning to keep it out of the press before the announcement was made. I made a quick call to Dad, to tell him it was all happening, and walked back inside with a smile on my face. Someone else had noticed the name John Inverarity on my phone, so by the time I came back the rest of the squad were crowded round saying, Tell us, tell us! I might have voiced the words oh Im not allowed to say what that was about, but everyone knew. The grin was the big giveaway.What followed was a mental journey Id never been on before. My last brief experience of Test cricket had been sudden and fleeting, all over before Id realised it was happening. This time there was an initial high about being picked for Australia, but with all the extra time for it to sink in there came a much more sobering realisation - I was fearful about how this might turn out. The negative thoughts built up from Under 19s, Australia A, my one Test match and the lack of follow-up chances all compounded. My head became clouded with questions. Am I going to be good enough? Am I going to find out that Im actually not good enough and never was? How am I going to fit into this team?Most of these thoughts were kept to myself, and with Middlesex I kept playing well enough. But there must have been enough evidence of my nerves to others. As a club we went to take part in a festival match at Wormsley, and I got a call from the Middlesex psychologist Steve Sylvester about catching up for a chat during the day. At the time everyone was saying the same things to me, along the lines of you must be so happy to be in the side, and to all this I was responding with a typical yeah I feel so good about it. But underneath, mixed in with the excitement was a serious case of nerves and fear. I was so nervous and so scared about what lay ahead. My mind was churning it over most hours of each day - as was my stomach.My meeting with Steve was about three weeks after the squad was announced. Hes an exceptionally enthusiastic character, full of life and energy that cant help but rub off on you. Hed say watching you bat is better than sex, just the way you do it, putting the ball in gaps and managing your game! and Id reply well you cant be doing it right... In that way he was different from just about any psychologist Id worked with, as most were more taciturn, listening types. Since hed joined Middlesex in 2010 hed had a good effect on the squad, although I probably still retained a bit of reserve, as I did with most guys brought in to manage my state of mind.This day at Wormsley was horrendously cold in the way only an early English spring day can be, to the point that we were playing in beanies. But Steve in his bouncy way said lets go for a lap of the ground! and coaxed me out of the change room. We walked around past the marquee, out of earshot of anyone else, and he said go on mate, how do you feel about being selected? As Id done with everyone else I gave him the standard response about feeling excited and really good about it all. At this point the only person Id really spoken to about my anxieties was Dad.To my surprise, Steve retorted, Thats just bullshit. Youre scared arent you? I stared back at him, wide-eyed, and almost instantly a burden lifted, because I knew I could speak to him about it. I laughed and said, What do you mean?Mate, dont give me that shit that youre all excited and stuff like that. Youre scared about how this is going to go, arent you?I cant believe you just said that. Thats exactly what I said to Dad a few hours ago.Thats ok. Everyone would be scared. Thats the right reaction.So how are we going to deal with this?Youve got to go into this series thinking youre going to get a duck every innings.What?It doesnt matter. Whats the worst that can happen? You make a duck every innings. So be it. Anything above that is a bonus.This might not sound like it makes a heap of sense, but that was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. I desperately needed to take the pressure off myself - and setting a low standard for what I expected served the purpose of doing that. We ended up doing about three laps of this freezing oval as I tried to soak up this new attitude from Steve.What he helped me realise was that because Id played County cricket in England and Sheffield Shield in Australia for so many years, Id got myself into a position where I knew I was good enough. If you have that sense it doesnt necessarily matter if you fail in one or two innings, because you know it will come around. Added to that I hadnt faced a run of outs for a long time, and I wasnt really getting nervous at the crease. But all of a sudden all these new feelings had emerged to shake me out of that comfort zone. To hear that was how I was meant to feel was a great help.From there on with Middlesex I tried to get myself keyed up for my innings, revving myself up to feel edgier at the batting crease. For one thing, Id learnt early in my career not to drink coffee before I batted, as it lifted my heart rate, which caused me to play rash, instinctive shots rather than in the calm, methodical manner I preferred to bat (Dean Jones avoided sugar apparently for the same reason). But here I was sculling coffee as I tried to get the adrenaline going before I batted. That was my mindset when the Australian players arrived in England, in three groups, as there was an Australia A tour going on in addition to the ODI Champions Trophy going on at the same time.So six or seven of us had training sessions at Hampstead Cricket Club, coincidentally about 200 metres from my Middlesex home. The group included Michael Clarke, Shane Watson, Davey Warner, Mitchell Starc, Phillip Hughes and James Faulkner. A lot of these guys didnt know me particularly well, and so it was a bit of an exercise in getting a little more familiar. A little like my first Test in Perth, I was still staying at home rather than in the team hotel at Kensington, and so I still felt somewhat on the outer.At one session I batted next to Davey and could sense him struggling with the conditions. On my side I was much more comfortable, dealing well with a challenging practice wicket. When I emerged from the nets Mickey Arthur came up to me and said, Do you know your back swing goes down towards fine leg? I was a bit puzzled at this and so asked him, Where is it when the bowler is in delivery stride? to which he replied it had straightened up by then. The impression I got was that he wasnt overly familiar with how I batted, which was intriguing given he was a selector.However from there we developed quite a good rapport, to the extent that a few days later he told me I would be opening in the first Test. Mickey went on to say that when the team got down to Taunton, in Somerset, for the first tour game, Ill take you out to dinner and pick your brains about England, really enjoy talking to you. That felt good to hear from the coach. Mickey had said it a few days before the team was due to assemble in Bristol before heading to Somerset. So imagine my surprise when I started to hear rumours that he was about to be sacked. The rumours turned out to be accurate.Just my luck, I thought. Finally in an Australian squad, getting along well with the coach and theyve fired him. For a while I thought I was back to square one. Mickeys replacement was Darren Lehmann, and I had no real sense of how he viewed me. For all I knew, he would think I was surplus to requirements and keep me on the fringes once more.These were strange hours and days, as the team and Cricket Australia seemed extremely tense about what lay ahead. On the bus from London to Bristol, a senior Cricket Australia figure delivered a speech I couldnt make much sense of. In explaining Mickeys sacking he said CA felt they had to move forward. He then offered this: To be honest, we dont expect you guys to win this series. If we could keep it to a draw that would be fantastic, and then well get them in Australia. It felt strange that a CA representative was basically giving up the series before it had even been played.These words were still ringing in my ears when the group got together in Bristol, so for the first time I found myself speaking up in an Australian team meeting. I dont want to be going into this series, I said, with an attitude that we cant win this, because we can. I got a sense of a few eye-rolls and blokes thinking who does he think he is, but it was an important moment for me because I felt I couldnt just be a junior member of the side. So in amongst a team that I could tell was still feeling uneasy and split into a couple of camps, here I was trying to assert myself. We had an awful long way to go. Next we were told that Mickey was still at the hotel, in a room, waiting to say goodbye to us. Not all the players went to see him, which said a lot about where the group was at. I followed the guys who did, shook Mickeys hand and offered him my best wishes. It was quite a raw meeting, as some members of the team were clearly very shaken by what had happened, and there was a tear or two shed. That was the last time we saw Mickey before jumping on the bus to Somerset with the new man, Darren Boof Lehmann.Our hotel in Somerset was The Castle, and I had been assigned a room on the top floor. Out of habit I opened up my bags and threw a bunch of gear on the bed in preparation for hanging it up. That moment I got a knock on the door: it was Boof. Preparing myself for the worst, I welcomed him in amid my partly unpacked bags. For whatever reason we had never really spoken much in Shield or County cricket. That distance led me to think that he didnt have much time for me as a cricketer or a bloke, and his first words didnt help.So youre messy are you?Sometimes, not usually.Ok, I just want to speak to you for a bit.At this point my heart sank - he was about to tell me that Mickeys assurance about opening the batting no longer applied. He continued: Youre not going to play in the first tour game at Taunton... That only enhanced my feelings of dread. For a few seconds. ...but youre going to open at Trent Bridge.Gobsmacked doesnt do my feelings justice. I was in! Through all that drama, all the change at the top and the turmoil around the team, I was going to be in the Test side. The look on my face must have been something else, because even now Darren still talks about it. Recently he sent me a card that read: To Bucky, still one of my best moments Ive had in coaching was in that room in Taunton to say you werent playing in the tour game but you were playing in the Test. Your face was priceless!An hour or so later we had another team meeting, Darrens first as coach. The first thing he said to us was, No meeting of mine will ever go for more than half an hour, and if it does you can walk out. He then laid out in fairly basic terms what he wanted and expected from us, before asking how much time was left. At a reply of three minutes, he looked straight at Davey and said, This is your last chance. Dont f*** up again. Everyone looked at Davey - who had got himself into trouble via a bar-room altercation with Englands Joe Root - and he replied with a simple ok, and that was that. There had been a lot of talk about lines in the sand in India, but this was the one for us and Darren. There was no bullshit, no complexity, just a simple instruction. 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