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November 17, 2001
Richard Dawson is set to play his first match for England tomorrow at the age of 21. Dawson, who only established himself in the Yorkshire side last season, took 30 first-class wickets in his nine matches, including a career-best six for 82 against Glamorgan.
With Ashley Giles' Achilles injury still healing, Dawson is likely to be chosen ahead of late call-up Martyn Ball against the Mumbai Cricket Association President's XI.
Dawson is grateful to two men for assisting in his rapid development. The new Yorkshire captain Darren Lehmann guided him throughout last season, while a close-up study of Surrey's Saqlain Mushtaq was also valuable.
"Playing in a good side, the top quality players drag you along if you are having a bad patch," said Dawson.
"Lehmann was brilliant last season. If you were struggling, you had someone to talk to to get you going again.
"He would always talk to me about tactics and when he didn't play at the end of the season, it was time to stand up on my own two feet, it suddenly made me realise that.
"He is someone to look up to, such a class player, his performances have been unbelievable and when he joined the club I was a 17-year-old just thinking about playing in the same side."
Dawson added: "When I played at The Oval last summer seeing Saqlain bowl, standing at the non-striker's end when I was batting, was a hell of an experience for someone like me who had played only a handful of games.
"You learn bits from people like him, take it away and although you don't copy them, it gives you an insight into changing speeds and angles that you deliver from.
"Little things that as a young person you probably wouldn't think of doing. You add all these things to your game."
For Dawson tomorrow could be the final step towards a Test confrontation with the world's premier batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, in the first Test in Mohali.
"There's no point in going into a contest with him thinking I am going to get spanked everywhere, Dawson said.
"Last season breeded confidence, being top of the Championship helped, so I will go out there expecting to do well, to give it my best.
"I don't know what is expected from anyone and that's probably the best thing, to be honest.
"What I want most from this tour is to get my foot in the door and gain some recognition.
"I haven't been in the spotlight at all, which has helped and I am much happier sitting back in the shadow."
"I didn't feel any pressure, I didn't feel anyone was watching me, I just got on with what I had been doing in the summer," he said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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