WILTSHIRE cricketer Liam Dawson and the rest of the England team begin their quest for World Cup glory this morning when the tournament gets under way.

Host nation England face South Africa at The Oval, with Eoin Morgan’s side favourites to win the competition, which concludes in the final at Lord’s on July 14.

Calne’s Dawson, who was born in Swindon, was a surprise inclusion in England’s final 15-man squad for the tournament when it was announced last week.

The Hampshire spinner played the last of his three one-day internationals in October and was not involved in the recent 4-0 series win over Pakistan.

However, his strong form for Hampshire in the Royal London Cup – helping his county reach last weekend’s final – pushed him over the line in the race for selection.

Dawson is likely to be England’s third-choice spinner for the competition, behind Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in the pecking order.

The 29-year-old is determined to produce his best should a call-up into the side come, and believes a good run of form on the county circuit has been ideal preparation despite a lack of recent international action.

Dawson, who used to play for Wiltshire side Goatacre, said: “We have played a lot of 50-over cricket domestically. We had a month of that and it has only just finished now.

“I feel in a good place and hopefully I can continue that form during the World Cup.

“I think we have played eight or nine games over the last month. Preparation has been ideal for me and also the rest of the team.

“I didn’t really know what to think (about the selection). I just tried to do my best for Hampshire and thankfully the call came and I am really looking forward to the next six weeks.

“If I do get a part in the World Cup, I will be doing my best to do well.”

Dawson’s fellow Wiltshire player James Vince is also in the England squad for the tournament.

Today’s match against South Africa is the first of nine for England in the group stage before the semi-finals begin on July 9.