TALENTED Pears pace ace Dillon Pennington has set his sights on securing an England Lions spot next winter in addition to cementing a regular first-team place at New Road.
Pennington burst onto the scene at New Road three years ago in Division One of the County Championship after impressing for England Under-19s in the World Cup.
The 22-year-old earned plaudits from international stars Kane Williamson and Morne Morkel, who played for Yorkshire and that season’s champions Surrey.
Unfortunately, injuries checked his progress the following season, but bowling coach Alan Richardson and former paceman Paul Pridgeon – now the Cricket Steering Group chairman – helped iron out any technical problems.
Pennington returned last summer with 11 wickets in four matches in the Bob Willis Trophy and is looking to continue to progress further in 2021.
His good start to the season continued in the recent clash with Kent which saw Pennington pick up five wickets in the space of just 18 balls on his way to a glorious return of 6 for 21 off 12 overs with six maidens.
The former England Under-19 bowler sent back Darren Stevens, Jack Leaning, Marcus O’Riordan, Matt Milnes and Harry Podmore during that deadly early afternoon burst.
“I am starting to feel I should be moving on a little bit and have thought about what I need to be doing to challenge for higher honours in terms of next winter, maybe aiming for some England Lions spots,” he said.
“That is my target, and to keep building towards that. I got selected for the England under-19s and did okay, and then I broke into the Worcestershire team.
“It will be a tough challenge to cement that spot but, if I manage that, then hopefully those Lions spots will come if I can take as many wickets as I can and keep pushing myself to get better.”
Pennington played eight Championship matches in his initial breakthrough year.
He said: “I had a nice entrance into professional cricket, and that year (2018) went quite well. I had an injury that second year, which set me back a little, and I wasn’t at my best. My action was all over the place, I wasn’t bowling that well, and I didn’t take many wickets.
“I started to move the ball away again and felt like I was back to my best and at my most confident. That is when I can bowl with a nice rhythm, not having to think about it too much, and hopefully, this year, I can keep building on that.
Pennington was part of a pace attack that helped put Worcestershire in contention to reach the Bob Willis Trophy’s final until the last afternoon of the 2020 group stages.
Worcestershire begin their 2021 four-day campaign this week with a trip to champions Essex.