Gus atkinson reflects on remarkable test debut for England.

Gus Atkinson is still coming to terms with his extraordinary test debut for England on Wednesday, where he claimed seven wickets for 45 runs against the West Indies—a performance that ranks among the best starts by an Englishman in test cricket.

A Special Day

“I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet to be honest, looking up at the board and seeing my figures and just thinking ‘Wow’. It’s a very special day,” Atkinson told reporters. “(It was) more than I could have dreamt for.”

Benefiting from the Spotlight Shift

Atkinson acknowledged that not being the center of attention helped him focus on his performance. The public was primarily focused on James Anderson, who was playing his 188th and final test match at the same ground where his career began in May 2003.

“The focus was on Jimmy, so it was nice to go under the radar a bit and just focus on performing as best as I could,” he said. “To be out there alongside Jimmy in his final test was incredible. Being in the Long Room, Jimmy leading us on the pitch was a pretty surreal moment.”

Managing Nerves

Atkinson admitted to feeling nervous at the start of the day. “I was a bit nervous this morning – woke up and all you could think about was the day ahead,” he said. “I tried to keep as level as possible. My dad was saying ‘It’s the biggest day of your life’ and I was like ‘Relax! Relax – try not to think like that’,” he added with a laugh. “Once the first few overs were bowled, I was pretty calm.”

Confidence in His Ability

Atkinson expressed quiet confidence in his abilities, having played shorter matches at Lord’s, which helped him acclimatize to the ground. “I’ve played a few white ball games here. It was special, I’ve always felt like I would bowl quite well here with the red ball, so to be able to come out and get the opportunity in the first test of the summer is great, and thankfully it went well.”