'Bizarre' 24 hours for England rookie | cricket.com.au

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'Bizarre' 24 hours for England rookie

Illness and car trouble brings Tom Westley back down to earth after joy of Test call-up

Tom Westley achieved a lifelong dream this week when he earned his maiden international call-up, but it hasn't all been good news for England's newest Test No.3.

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While nothing could take away from the joy of learning he will make his Test debut at The Oval, Westley has revealed an untimely illness and even a minor run-in with the law has only added to a week he's labelled "bizarre" and "surreal".

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"(It's been) humbling in terms of the support and messages," Westley said when asked to reflect on the past few days.

"Today I’ve actually been quite sick. That’s not alcohol-related, it’s just a bit of food poisoning.

"And then my car broke down so I had to get a train in, but I didn’t buy a ticket so I had to pay a penalty fine."

Westley's illness was bad enough to rule him out of Essex's T20 Blast clash against Hampshire on Friday, but it's not expected to stop him from taking on South Africa in south London, starting on Thursday.

While the third Test will be Westley's first taste of international cricket, he's already produced some impressive displays against international-quality opponents.

The right-hander has amassed centuries in warm-up matches against touring nations Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa, the latter coming for the England Lions at the start of the Proteas’ Test campaign.

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Having already conquered Proteas quicks Kagiso Rabada, Morne Morkel and Chris Morris with an unbeaten 106 in Worcester earlier this month, Westley says it's given him the belief that he can perform strongly again on the biggest stage.

"Obviously I won't know how I'll do at Test level until I play next week, but I can take a lot of confidence of scoring runs against international attacks,” he told Sky Sports.

"They didn't have (Vernon) Philander playing at Worcester, but they did have Morkel, Morris and Rabada.

"It's a nice feeling knowing that I have scored runs against them, it's just (a matter of) whether I can implement that next week."

Former England skipper Nasser Hussain praised England for the selection of Westley, adding the fact the Essex man is right-handed may have been a critical factor in his inclusion.

"The only thing that has stopped Mark Stoneman from making his Test debut next week is probably the fact that he is left-handed," Hussain wrote in The Daily Mail of the Surrey opener, who many had tipped to be picked ahead of Westley.

"Stoneman might have been just ahead of Tom Westley as a replacement for the injured Gary Ballance, but the fact that the top three would all have been left-handed matters.

"It’s all very well saying they just need to pick their best players but they had to take into account how exceptional Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander are against left-handers.

"And I’m pleased they have done."

England can retain The Basil D'Oliveira Trophy with victory at The Oval, with the four-match series currently tied at 1-1 after England triumphed in South Africa in 2015-16.