WITH more than 500 wickets in all formats of the game and a century of first-class matches under his belt – it is fair to say Dorset’s David Payne has done the hard yards to earn his chance of playing for England.

A stalwart of the Gloucestershire side for more than a decade, having signed professional terms in 2009, the 30-year-old received the news on Tuesday morning which he has dreamt of since he was a boy.

Raised in Lytchett Matravers having played local cricket and football for Lytchett Red Triangle and Parley respectively, the left-arm seamer has made the burning desire to be named in an England senior squad a reality.

It may have come in strange circumstances, with England’s entire original one-day group having to self-isolate due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the camp.

But should Payne get the call to feature in England’s XI against Pakistan at Cardiff on Thursday, he will be sure to cherish every moment.

The former Bournemouth and Dorset seamer was midway through a four-day contest for Gloucestershire against Middlesex at Cheltenham this week.

Then the call came which could change his life.

“I had a missed call and a message on WhatsApp. I was down at breakfast and I’d left my phone in the hotel room,” he told Gloucestershire’s official Twitter account, still speaking from the boundary edge at Cheltenham.

“I came back and saw that. WhatsApp is clever isn’t it? It told me it was Chris Silverwood (England head coach). The message said it was him and to give him a call.

“Instantly my heart was racing and I started thinking ‘what’s this going to be?’. I tried to stay cool, did my teeth! And got ready to go to the ground and give him a call.

“In the car he was ringing me again, so I took the call there and he said could I join them down in Cardiff?

“My initial reaction was a bit confused, I was thinking ‘I’m in the middle of a game, what does this mean?’.

“But with replacements being allowed it means Dom (Goodman) can come in for me and I can just concentrate on going down and joining them.”

Describing his first reactions to the news, the former Lytchett Minster School pupil said: “Amazing.

“It’s probably the last thing I expected to happen on Tuesday morning. I spent the previous night watching Jimmy Anderson’s spell with the red ball and was really excited turning up to put a red ball in my hand and be out there for Glos.

“I had absolutely no idea (about the COVID outbreak). Chris asked if I’d heard anything and I was completely oblivious to what was going on. I am just thankful for the opportunity.

“I’m completely ecstatic and can’t wait to get down there.”

Payne is set to link up with star all-rounder Ben Stokes, batsman James Vince and spinner Danny Briggs – all faces he knows from playing for England at under-19 level.

Locally, Payne’s success is also well remembered. He was part of Parley’s under-15 national cup winning side and also sealed national T20 glory with Bournemouth in 2009.

But while he values those moments in Dorset, an England call has always been the aim for the talented left-armer.

“This has been the dream for a long time,” he added.

“To finally have that, I am not sure right now words can describe how I’m feeling.

“I can’t stop smiling and it’s everything everyone plays for. To finally get that call is everything I ever wanted.”

England are also set to take on Pakistan at Lord’s on Saturday, before finishing the series at Edgbaston on Tuesday.