England well-equipped for Tigers test
England Under-19s are fully prepared for the conditions they will face in Bangladesh, according to captain Adam Ball.
The 18-year-old all-rounder leads a talented 15-man squad to the sub-continent this week to face the Tigers in a seven-match one-day series, which is the first step towards August’s World Cup in Australia for this group of players.
Despite England sides of the past struggling to assert themselves on Asian wickets, Ball is confident his emerging outfit can acclimatise to the different conditions.
Speaking at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough ahead of the team’s departure, Ball told ecb.co.uk: “I'm expecting quite a tough tour, obviously going to the sub-continent.
“England are not renowned for going out there and coming out on top, but I think our boys have trained well over the Christmas period, and also out in South Africa, and I think we are ready and prepared to go out there and face the Bangladeshis, and come back with a win.”
Asked whether the sub-continent is a difficult place to play cricket, he replied: “Yeah definitely. We've had chats with the older boys as well and they have said exactly the same thing.
“(It's) not just playing on the slow, turning wickets against their spinners, but also coping with the conditions off the field, being able to adapt to that, eating things that you probably wouldn't usually eat at home.
“I think the boys are totally prepared for that. We've been working really hard, especially against spin, to make sure we go there and throw the first punch and come out with a win in that first game.
“I think we've got a good bunch of boys, we've been quite close together. We've been working together for three or four months now. The boys have started to get to know each other and the team spirit in the camp is really good.”
Despite a huge amount of cricket to be played before August, Ball already has one eye on captaining England at the World Cup.
“I can’t wait. Just to play for your country is a massive honour, but to be picked to captain that group of players is an even bigger honour,” he said.
“I can’t wait to get out there, get on the park and lead the boys, and hopefully come back with a victory."
Ball was lucky enough to represent his country at the 2010 World Cup in New Zealand alongside the likes of Hampshire batsman James Vince, Durham’s Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler of Somerset.
And he insists the experience gained from playing in the same side as the trio of talented youngsters, who have progressed to earn England Lions and senior one-day international caps over the last 12 months, will benefit his and the team’s preparations for the tournament this time round.
“I learned a lot out there. I played with some very good players, the likes of James Vince, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, who are doing really well at the moment," he added.
“One thing I learned from them boys is how well they trained and the intensity (at) which they trained. I think that’s massive, to make sure we take that intensity of training out on to the park and that’s what we’ve done very well.
“It was just unfortunate that in the quarter-final we lost to West Indies, but I think on any other day we would have backed ourselves to beat them, and hopefully we would have gone on and won it.”