Danny Briggs has put one life-changing date on temporary hold so that he can try to help England retain their ICC World Twenty20 crown.
The 21-year-old spinner had clearly not reckoned on making the cut from England’s provisional 30-man squad to their final 15 when he and fiancée Linsey set the date for an autumn wedding.
But when the young couple discovered the groom-to-be was needed elsewhere, Briggs’ understanding prospective life partner agreed to put the big day back a month so that he could represent his country.
He is shaping up as no mere bridesmaid in Sri Lanka either, having opened the bowling for England yesterday and taken three for 15 in a 15-run warm-up win over Pakistan at the P Sara Oval.
The slow left-armer is grateful for his fiancée’s support. “She’ll definitely understand,” he said, after England had recorded a second successive warm-up victory to build confidence for the start of their competitive campaign against Afghanistan tomorrow.
“We’ve rescheduled it, so it’s now in October. So there’s a bit of time now. I’ll concentrate on this, and concentrate on the marriage afterwards. It’s great to get three wickets here instead.”
Briggs was not the only one with plenty to smile about after England had pulled off an improbable victory as he and Jade Dernbach (three for 14) did the most to defend a vulnerable 111 all out and restrict Pakistan to 96 for nine.
Captain Stuart Broad’s economy was also a significant contribution, as was in-form number three Luke Wright’s 38 – almost twice as many as any other batsman managed on either side.
England were following up their nine-run win over Australia two days ago, and Briggs said: “We’ve played really well the first week, and to get two wins under our belt is perfect preparation really for that first match on Friday.
“We’re really looking forward to that now.”
He himself performed with credit, too, against Australia, even though Michael Hussey ruined his figures in that match by hitting him for three consecutive sixes in his final over.
Asked if he feels in the frame to therefore retain his place when things get serious for England’s Group A opener, he said: “I hope so. It’s come out well in both games, and that’s all you can do really.”
Briggs operated wicket-to-wicket, at a mostly full length, and was thankful for a new ball which helped him find some spin to go with his expert flight.
“I tried to bowl straight, and make them hit the ball – it’s fairly simple, every game you play,” he said. “They’re all good players of spin, world-class. It’s tough, but you’ve got to keep things simple.”
Broad’s hopefuls were aware they had fallen a little short with the bat after winning the toss, but knew they still had an outside chance on an awkward pitch.
“It was quite a low total, and you always fear it might not be enough,” added Briggs.
“But then you go on to bowl with nothing to lose and try and bowl the best you can, to put them under pressure early - which is what we did in that first six overs. To keep them down to 90-odd in 20 overs and take those wickets as well is good.
“That gives us confidence, because we might have a situation in the tournament where that comes about again. This week has been good preparation to play against any side.”