Notts new boy Ajmal Shahzad has Ashes hope
AJMAL Shahzad was at Trent Bridge for an Ashes ticket launch – and then said: "I'd love to be there."
England and Australia will clash in the very first Ashes Test of this summer in Nottingham on July 10-13.
And new Notts signing Shahzad, 27, has not given up hope of forcing his way back into the England frame in time by making a blistering start to the County Championship season.
The all-rounder and the rest of the Notts bowlers are all set to fly out to a training camp in South Africa on Sunday as they step-up their build-up to the start of the new season.
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The whole Notts team are then off to Barbados next month on a friendly tour before their first Division One match against Middlesex at Trent Bridge, which begins on April 10.
Shahzad has only played one Test for his country back in 2010 and 11 one-day internationals – but he was in the England squad when they won the Ashes Down Under just over two years ago.
"I'd love to be there this summer," he said.
"It's probably unrealistic at this moment in time, but I have just got to keep working hard.
"I've not played that much for England, but my ambitions are to do well for Notts and get myself back into the England set-up.
"It would be a nice feeling to get myself back in there.
"I want to win Test series and one-dayers and show what I am all about.
"I guess that is only going to happen if I get out on the pitch at Trent Bridge and perform for Notts."
The England bowling attack looks very strong, with the likes of Shahzad's new club team-mates Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann leading the way.
"The selectors have seen me before so they know what I am about," added Shahzad.
"Hopefully if I can put in some good performances then it's just a matter of knocking on the door.
"It could happen as soon as mid-season, but it could also take two or three years.
"My main aim is to do fantastically well for Notts and propel them to some trophies and then we will see what comes of it.
"You never know what is going to happen.
"You can put in some good performances and there might be some injuries or people not performing as good as they have been and spots can become available."
Shahzad also believes Mick Newell could be the secret weapon in his bid to end his England exile.
Newell is already credited with turning the likes of Swann into international stars and reviving the England career of Samit Patel.
"He's got a good track record of getting guys into the England set-up, that is one of the things that attracted me to Notts," said Shahzad, who has signed a three-year deal at Trent Bridge.
"I'm hoping he can do the same for me and I don't see why he can't.
"He's a great guy and good mentor and he has always got good advice and keeps it simple.
"I'm hoping he can direct me in the right way to get me back in there."