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Adam Ball: Ready for Australia

Friday 13th July 2012

Men’s First Team

Two of Kent’s rising young stars will travel to Australia at the end of the month as part of the England squad for the Under 19 World Cup. In addition to that, one of them will captain the Three Lions on the other side of the world, something which the county is, quite rightly, extremely proud of.

The prodigious Daniel Bell-Drummond will open for the youngsters, with his usual brand of pyrotechnics at the top of order, but it is all-rounder Adam Ball who will lead the 15-man squad in their bid for glory. The 19 year-old is thrilled with the opportunity and believes he has the attributes needed to succeed.

You have been named captain of the side. How pleased are you by that?

It’s a massive honour, to be selected by your country, and to be named captain makes it even more special for me. It shows that I’m respected within the team environment and have the skills needed to lead a group of players in Australia. I hope it will be a successful trip and I’m sure it will be with the players we’ve got.

Ball has already captained the England Under-19s on trips to Australia and Bangladesh so he is no stranger to the role. The left-arm medium-pacer understands the importance of balancing all parts of his game, but the captaincy is something that he feels has further developed his game.

Do you enjoy skippering the side?

Yes, it’s very enjoyable. It is a massive challenge for me, having to balance my bowling, batting and leading the team but I’ve really enjoyed it. I feel I have benefitted from captaining the side and learnt a lot about myself along the way. I’ve had some ups and down but I’m learning and things are definitely going in the right direction, heading towards the World Cup.

The Greenwich-born star appeared in the last Under-19s World Cup, back in 2010, when the team finished eighth in the tournament, played in New Zealand. Back then Ball was a raw 16 year-old. Since then he has played a lot of county and international cricket so he is much more prepared for the challenges ahead, this time around.

This is your second World Cup. Will you be a better player for your previous experience?

Definitely. The extra experience that I have gained over the last couple of years will really help me. Playing other countries; the likes of Sri Lanka, Australia and South Africa has helped me massively to understand what it takes to perform at international level. I can take the things that I have learnt into this World Cup and hopefully we can do better than we did at the last tournament.

The squad is a talented group, with players like Reece Topley of Essex, Jamie Overton at Somerset and Ball himself already establishing themselves on the county circuit. England face the host nation, Ireland and Nepal in the group stages and Ball is convinced the team have enough quality in their ranks to go far in the tournament.

Do you think England have got a good chance of winning?

Yes, I think we've got every chance. All countries go into the World Cup backing themselves to win it and we are no different. Now, it’s down to us to perform consistently. Firstly we need to get out of the group stages and into the knockouts. We are then playing all-pressure cricket. The teams that soak up that pressure and perform will be the ones to succeed.

Having already gained a lot of experience from captaining the young guns, Ball understands his role isn’t just about leading the team on the pitch. The youngster is extremely level-headed and seems to have impressed the England coaching staff, and it seems he certainly thrives on the pressure.

How much influence do you have as captain?

I think the captain is gaining more and more influence. It’s something that’s being worked on from previous tours. After being less involved, I think the person in charge is now doing more and I certainly get plenty of participation. I work on planning, the training sessions and get involvement on team selection too. I’m also in charge of leading the team on the pitch. I’ve got a good relationship with (Head Coach) Tim Boon and that will hopefully help us succeed.

Ball has yet to make a LV= County Championship appearance so far this season with Kent fielding a settled side, on most occasions, but the all-rounder has continued to impress in limited-overs cricket. He finished as the Spitfires’ leading wicket-taker in the recent Friends Life t20 tournament, claiming 12 victims, and was a reliable bowler throughout the campaign. Ball believes his recent performances have set him up nicely for the World Cup.

Are you feeling in good form, going into the tournament?

I guess I’ve had the best possible preparation. I’ve played lots of white ball cricket recently and have had the opportunity to think about my plans and come up with some new ones. I was given a great chance by Kent to execute my skills, in the Friends Life t20. I know we didn’t qualify but I was pleased with my contribution and I can take confidence from my performances and hopefully continue my decent form.

Like many in England, Ball, understandably, is eager to get away from the summer showers that have played havoc with the cricket schedule this season, but cricket is his main priority and he is proud to represent England overseas.

Are you looking forward to going to Australia?

I cannot wait. The weather has been a nightmare here so it will be good to go overseas and get a bit of sunshine. The main thing though is to be able to compete at a World Cup and represent my country at a major tournament.

Bell-Drummond, at the age of 18, is already one of the all-time most prolific run-scorers at this level and Ball is delighted to have his team-mate alongside him, on the trip.

Finally, your Kent team mate, Daniel Bell-Drummond, is going with you. Are you pleased to have him around?

Definitely. DBD is a good friend and we have worked very hard together. We have grown up through the youth system and know each other’s games off by heart now. It is good to have him involved and he keeps me focussed. I cannot wait to go now. We leave at the end of the month; the 30 July will soon be here.