Buck begins World Cup countdown
Leicestershire seamer Nathan Buck is relishing the once-in-a-lifetime experience of representing England at an Under-19 World Cup.
The talented teenager has put in plenty of preparation for the tournament in New Zealand in January, a competition which will be the culmination of a year's worth of hard work.
Buck, who made his England Under-19 debut last winter in South Africa, also forced his way into the Leicestershire first team this season.
He made a solid impression, taking the prized wicket of Mark Ramprakash as his maiden LV= County Championship scalp and also picking up Test batsman VVS Laxman as his first wicket in the NatWest Pro40.
Buck is hoping to use the World Cup as a springboard to take his development further, and has not compromised his preparation to face the world's best young talent.
He said: "I can't wait to go now. I've been putting in lots of practice and everything has been geared up for New Zealand. It's all been about fitness and cricket skills.
"I'm a little bit nervous as I'll only have one chance to do this at Under-19 level, but I've played a fair bit now and have a little bit of experience against people from different countries so it's all helped.”
Buck believes England’s preparations have been crucial given he pinpoints the ability to hit the ground running as critical to their success.
He said: "We need to start well. England has a tendency to start slowly, but from ball one we need to be on it or we might be on the next plane home.
"We have had lots of preparation. It's been busy but it's all good fun - it certainly beats going to school.
"There has been a lot of team elements to practice. We went to an Army base, we have been to Cardiff and run up sand dunes and so on, so there's been lots of variety. It's been good.
"There's been strength work and fitness work as well as cricket practice, so it has been a good mix. It has been good to get to know the lads and to work with our new coach Mark Robinson."
Sussex coach Robinson will be the third coach that Buck has worked with since making his England Under-19 debut in South Africa.
Another change of coach may not seem ideal in a World Cup year, but Buck sees working with Andy Pick, Nottinghamshire's Mick Newell, who took charge for the recent Bangladesh tour, and Robinson as a positive.
He said: "It has been good to work with all three coaches. It has been hard but also good to learn from different people.
"There have been different coaching styles but we have been working with Mark for four weeks and the more we have worked with him, the better it has been.
"Playing first-class cricket has also made me a lot more aware of my game and also shown me what I need to work on. We played on some flat pitches against good batsmen and it was hard work - but good fun too.”
While Buck knows the pressure will be on when England arrive in New Zealand, he is also determined to savour the experience of representing his country in an international tournament.
He said: "There's big pressure playing for your country and there will be pressure for us to do well in a major tournament. But hopefully we can get out of the group and go from there.
“Hopefully, we can set a good platform in the warm-up games. However, we won't be complacent.
"If all goes to plan then I see no reason why we can't do well. We have prepared well and are ready for the challenge."