Kent academy scholar Ollie Robinson is looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd when England Under-19s face India in the second match of the Royal London One-Day Series in Canterbury on Wednesday.
His mentor Sam Billings will join his former Kent captain Rob Key in the Sky Sports commentary team for a day-night match at the Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence that begins at 2pm, as England aim to bounce back from a five-wicket defeat in the opening match of the series in Cardiff yesterday.
“It’s an exciting prospect for all of us with the game being on TV, and especially for me with it being at Canterbury,” said Robinson, an 18-year-old from Bexley who now plays his club cricket in Beckenham, where Key took his first steps in the game.
“I’ve only played there three times myself but hopefully that’s an advantage, because the slope takes a bit of getting used to. It’s a lovely ground, and we’re all looking forward to playing there. I’ll probably have quite a few coming down to watch from the three clubs I’ve played for – Bexley, Beckenham and Sidcup. Hopefully we can turn things around.”
Robinson and the rest of the England top seven were hugely frustrated in Cardiff yesterday, as six of them reached double figures but no-one could better the 43 from Warwickshire opener Liam Banks.
Robinson played the punchiest innings, including a straight six off a free hit, only to hole out to deep mid-wicket off the leg-spinner Rahul Chahar for 27.
He also took an athletic diving catch to dismiss the left-handed Abhishek Sharma off the bowling of Somerset all-rounder Tom Lammonby to leave India in trouble on 70 for five, only for Anukul Roy to join Salman Khan in an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 115.
“I was disappointed to get out in the way I did, because I was feeling good out there,” added Robinson. “I picked his googly, but I managed to pick out the fielder. Hopefully I can build on that and put it on show at Canterbury.
“The last couple of weeks playing against India, in four-day cricket and now in the one-day series, has been a big challenge, but that’s really good.
“Obviously there’s a World Cup coming up in New Zealand early next year which is a big goal for all of us, and this is a sign of what we’re going to be up against, and you can assess where you are.”
England are still missing Matt Potts, the Durham all-rounder who is playing in their Specsavers County Championship match in Leicester.
But Harry Brook, the Yorkshire batsman who had originally been appointed captain for the one-day series before being called away to play against Essex in Scarborough, will rejoin the squad in Canterbury for practice tonight, and may make his first appearance of the series tomorrow.
Gates open at midday. Entry is free.
England squad: Brook (Yorkshire), Banks (Warwickshire), Trevaskis (Durham), Organ (Hampshire), Jacks (Surrey), Banton (Somerset), Lammonby (Somerset), Robinson (Kent), Patterson-White (Nottinghamshire), Plom (Essex), Blatherwick (Nottinghamshire), Finch (Worcestershire), Qadri (Derbyshire), Trenouth (Somerset), Allison (Essex), Brookes (Warwickshire).