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Batty delighted at 'surreal' second coming

October 22, 2003, Dhaka, 1st Test, 2nd day. Gareth Batty claims his first Test wicket: Alok Kapali, bowled shouldering arms.

October 22, 2016, Chittagong, 1st Test, 3rd day. Gareth Batty claims his 12th Test wicket, a week after his 39th birthday.

It is now not an impossible thought. On Wednesday evening, Batty's phone buzzed with the call from James Whitaker, the national selector, to tell him he was on the plane to Bangladesh and, after a gap of more than 11 years, has the chance to add to his seven Test caps.

"It was a bit surreal, but a great honour - it's a great phonecall to get," he said. "It's never going to be a bad one one when you're told you're going to get on a plane to represent your country."

Batty was close to a recall this time last year after Zafar Ansari, who he will now be touring alongside after the allrounder was also included in England's 17-man squad, broke his thumb just hours after earning his first call-up for the trip to the UAE.

Instead the selectors went for Samit Patel and the thought was that the last chance for Batty to rekindle his Test career had passed him by. However, another solid season for Surrey, in which he has collected 41 wickets at 31.32, has earned him selection ahead of the more prolific Jack Leach or Ollie Rayner.

If Batty does make a final XI, he will be a cricket veteran in the side, if not a Test veteran. It is the gnarled experience which has helped tip the scales in his favour as England try to find a solution - albeit short term - to the challenge of competing in the spin department in Bangladesh and, although the squad has yet to be confirmed, most likely in India as well.

"Until you get out there you don't know but, certainly in the last few years, I feel I have learnt more about my game and I understand my body and bowled better more consistently," he said. "I feel in a good place that, maybe in the younger part of my career, I didn't feel as confident about things, or know exactly what it was going to do, so fingers crossed that stands me in good stead if I get an opportunity..

"All sport is pressure but as you get older you perhaps know how better to deal with it, but it's why we play the game. It's about dealing with pressure and being a good performer under pressure."

Although Batty has been brought back because the selectors feel he is one of the best four spinners available, it has also been mooted that he can provide a mentoring role for the other three. England do not have a dedicated spin-bowling coach, even for back-to-back tours of the subcontinent, with Saqlain Mushtaq only scheduled to be involved for a couple of weeks during India.

"We have not had any conversations about that but, whatever they require from me, I will try to deliver as best I can - anyone within the game knows that about me," he said.

"As a spinner, our country is not blessed overly with a huge amount of knowledge in that area, so if there is anything I can possibly help with in any way shape or form, I will. But I would do that if I were in an England shirt, a Surrey shirt or just my shirt at the local cricket club."

As ever with this tour of Bangladesh, the talk of security is never far away but nothing was going to stop Batty if the call came, even though he has recently become a father for the first time.

"As soon as the security guys said it was okay, that was good enough. I am not somebody who is going to second-guess somebody who's doing their job, but I totally understand people's reservations and that is their decision. I spoke to my wife and had a quick word to my little daughter, who gave me a little dribble which I took as meaning it was okay."

If Batty returns home having helped England win a Test series, it will be quite a story to tell his daughter in the years to come.