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Who is uncapped Gus Atkinson in England's World Cup squad?

Who is uncapped Gus Atkinson in England's World Cup squad?

Gus Atkinson was taken aback by his World Cup selection, but England's newest pace weapon feels The Hundred has prepared him for the international stage.

Atkinson was hopeful of being selected for four T20s against New Zealand, but after being named to England's ODI team and World Cup preliminary squad, he can set his ambitions higher.

Jofra Archer's troublesome elbow has effectively ended his chances of playing in England's 50-over title defence, but Atkinson was still surprised to be selected and had to put on his best poker face when receiving a phone call from white-ball head coach Matthew Mott in the Oval Invincibles dressing room.

Atkinson has caught the attention in recent weeks at the Kia Oval-based club, often surpassing 90mph and topping out at 95mph while also possessing a sneaky slower ball in his arsenal, and he believes facing up against some famous players has prepared him perfectly for England duty.

"I wasn't really expecting to be picked for the World Cup," he told the PA news agency. I'd heard stories about being selected for the New Zealand T20s, but being selected for the ODIs and World Cup was really cool.

"I'm just ecstatic. It was difficult to keep it a secret from people at first because I was at the Oval getting ready with the Invincibles when I found out, and it was difficult not to smile.

"However, I spoke with my family, who are obviously very happy and proud." This summer has been fantastic, and it has all occurred in a flash. It was my first time seeing The Hundred, and it was fantastic.

"Every team has top world-class batters, and bowling against them has helped." I've been doing well against foreign players in The Hundred, so there's no reason why I can't do it on a bigger platform."

Last week, Atkinson made an impression on England captain Jos Buttler, who delivered a couple of fast smashes for the Manchester Originals but was thrashed all ends up by a 94mph free hit.

While Atkinson is doubtful he can increase his speeds - "I'm not sure about that," he laughed - he has appreciated the exposure he has received with all matches in The Hundred being televised.

"My beans have been going in every game so far," he said. It's my first time playing against Jos, and you immediately realise what a world-class player he is.

"When I was bowling at him, I wasn't really thinking about the big picture; I was just trying to do my job - hit the pitch hard and bowl quick."

Moeen Ali, Gus Atkinson, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, David Willey, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes (captain).
Atkinson has always had the trait of natural quickness, but his progress was hindered by three stress fractures in his back, which left him with internal misgivings.

Trusting his body again was as difficult as healing from his injuries, but Atkinson is back in action and pleased that his qualities have seen him fast-tracked into the England set-up.

"This year, playing all of Surrey's T20 games in the (Vitality) Blast, it was nice to be backed and to know I was going to play," he said. That has been extremely beneficial.

"My skills and ability have always been there, and I've always had pace in me," he says, "but I've felt like I'm a few years behind in my career because of those injuries."

"It's nice to be selected by England without having to put in three or four years of hard work."

Atkinson has only played two List A matches and has never visited India, where England will aim to maintain their world crown in October and November.

But the 25-year-old, who plans to seek counsel from Surrey teammate and good friend Reece Topley, is certain he has a formula to prosper in every situation, regardless of format.

"I don't change much when I switch from four-day cricket to T20 cricket," he added. I just aim to bowl my best ball and keep it as easy as possible, and I'll do the same in 50-over cricket."