Rob Cross says it will be ‘a massive honour’ to represent England at the 2018 Betway World Cup of Darts in Germany.
The world champion from St Leonards is one half of a new-look England team set to take part in the 32-nation pairs tournament.
Cross will team up with Dave Chisnall in the £300,000 tournament, which gets underway at the Eissporthalle in Frankfurt today (Thursday) and continues until Sunday.
“It’s a massive honour and I can’t wait to represent my country - it’s not something you get to do very often so it means a lot,” said Cross, the world number three.
“It’s a completely different tournament for me too with it being a pairs format, but I’m excited about teaming up with Dave.
“England have done well in the past so there’s something to live up to, but we’ll do our best this weekend. I’m buzzing.”
Four-time champions England, who are seeded second, enter the tournament as 5/1 third favourites with Betway ahead of their round one tie against Czech Republic tomorrow.
Three-time winners and defending champions the Netherlands (world number one Michael van Gerwen and five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld) are the even money favourites, while 2015 finalists Scotland (world number four Gary Anderson and second-ranked Peter Wright) are the 11/4 second favourites.
The tournament, which will be televised live on Sky Sports, will see a combination of doubles and singles matches played.
The first round ties will be played tonight and tomorrow, the second round will be split across two sessions on Saturday, with the quarter-finals on Sunday afternoon, and the semi-finals and final on Sunday evening.
If England come through their first round encounter, they will face New Zealand or Singapore in round two on Saturday evening.
2018 Betway World Cup of Darts first round schedule of Play - today (Thursday, 6pm BST): Italy v Canada; Russia v Spain; Switzerland v China; Denmark v Brazil; Wales v Thailand; Australia v Hong Kong; Scotland v United States of America; Austria v Japan.
Tomorrow (Friday, 6pm BST): New Zealand v Singapore; Greece v Finland; Northern Ireland v Poland; Hungary v South Africa; Belgium v Republic of Ireland; England v Czech Republic; Sweden v Germany; Netherlands v Gibraltar.
Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed, we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer, simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)