Ball eyes continued development
England Under-19 captain Adam Ball believes his side’s tour of Bangladesh represents a crucial step in their preparations for next summer’s World Cup in Australia.
Kent all-rounder Ball was yesterday confirmed as the leader of a 15-man party that will play seven one-day internationals on the sub-continent.
England’s players have recently returned from a training camp in South Africa and, although he is determined to oversee success in Bangladesh, Ball admits August’s World Cup is already very much in their thoughts.
“This is the start of that journey really,” he told ecb.co.uk. “It’s crucial that we start this early, so everyone starts to get a feel for how everyone plays and how they are as a person on and off the pitch.
“We’ve made massive gains in terms of becoming a team. We’ve had some really good social nights and stuff going on (including a dance-off that saw Essex paceman Reece Topley emerge victorious), and the team is coming together really well.”
Looking ahead to the challenges England will face in Bangladesh, Ball admits he and his team-mates are determined to prove themselves in an area where the senior squad have recently struggled.
“We haven’t really been able to see any footage of Bangladesh, but we know they will all be very good at playing spin and when they are bowling they will have a lot of spinners that will look to tie us down,” he said.
“It will be a massive challenge for us. I know the first team have struggled playing spin out in India and there’s always that idea that the English can’t play spin, so hopefully we can go out there and change that view of English youngsters.
“I’m looking forward to that challenge and hopefully we’ll be successful out there and I will learn quite a bit.”
Ball, who also led the team in their home series against South Africa this summer, is also relishing the additional responsibility that comes with captaincy.
However, he admits the extra workload has taken some getting used to, particularly as he strives to develop his own game in a bid to achieve success at the highest level.
“It’s a great honour to play for your country, but to be captain is an even bigger honour,” he explained.
“I find it really tough, because obviously I’m working on my game as well, but playing for Kent last year I learned quite a bit about my own game, so that stands me in good stead to be able to take on the extra responsibility.
“There’s extra work you have to put in. I have to run up and bowl and then in the next over I need to think about what the other bloke is doing, sort out his field and stuff like that. I also have to play a role with the bat in the middle order. There are constant things going on and it’s a massive learning curve for me, to find out about myself and how I’m going to cope with that.
“It’s quite a tough ask, balancing everything, but it’s good that I’ve been given the opportunity now rather than being thrown in at the deep end when it comes to the World Cup.”