Dom Bess was close to speechless when Ed Smith interrupted his morning trip round Ikea to tell him he was in line for a Lord’s Test debut against Pakistan next week.
Bess’ name joined that of the recalled Jos Buttler among the 12 in new national selector Smith’s eye-catching first squad.
Buttler’s return, to bat at number seven, will excite many in a line-up which will see captain Joe Root voluntarily move back up to three, wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow delighted at a promotion to five and Mark Stoneman hang on to his opener’s slot.
The fall guy is James Vince, left out because he needs to make more runs with the undoubted talent he has according to Smith – while Bess’ opportunity comes after his fellow Somerset spinner Jack Leach cruelly broke his thumb in the nets on the eve of the selection meeting.
Bess recalled the moment his phone rang on Tuesday morning, with an unexpected voice on the other end.
“I was in Ikea with my girlfriend,” he said.
“I’ve just bought a house, so we were looking at a few things, having a browse – then Ed phoned me up!
“I didn’t have his number, so I didn’t know who it was.”
Bess’ response was understandably enthusiastic – but monosyllabic.
“He told me I’d been included – and all I said was ‘wow’!
“I didn’t have any other words, I couldn’t believe it.”
Afterwards, he spared a thought for his county team-mate – who made an encouraging debut himself in the last Test of England’s winless winter, against New Zealand in Christchurch.
“When Leachy went down I didn’t initially realise it was a break,” he said.
“I’m only 20, but this is something I’ve always dreamed about since I was a child.
“I’d wear the Three Lions supporting them as a kid and pretend to play for England when I played with my cousins and grandad.
“The first person I called after I got the news was my dad … straightaway.
“I think it was a very proud moment for him – he’s always backed me, no matter what.”
While Bess has received an England call after just 16 first-class appearances, Buttler is back in the frame for a 19th cap after a break of almost 18 months but on the back of his brilliant Indian Premier League form.
Smith said of Buttler: “We feel it’s the right thing, at the right time with the right player.
“It was a very strong feeling that we wanted to invest opportunity in Jos.
“Overwhelmingly, we felt that a player of his unique gifts as a destructive batsman, fantastic competitive presence, dynamic athlete, someone who has leadership skills innate in him, who is playing with such confidence and flair, this was the right time.”