Skip to main content

Adam Ball: winter in Australia helped my game

Wednesday 3rd June 2015

Men’s First Team

A fear has gripped Kent supporters in recent seasons like no other. Fans have agonised over a scary question that seemingly had no answer. Just who will replace Darren Stevens when the veteran finally has to retire?

Well, the young all-rounder planning to fill the boots that 39-year-old Stevens will inevitably have to hang up one dark day is Adam Ball, the 22-year-old left-arm seamer and right-hand bat.

The former England Under-19 captain spent the winter playing grade cricket in Australia, a ‘coming of age’ experience he believes has helped him to better understand his techniques and his career path in the game.

“It was a really interesting trip because I felt I learned a lot about myself,” said the Kent Academy graduate. “For the first winter ever I was away from the coaches and had to work things out for myself.

“I’d tried to make changes to my bowling technique these past couple of summers and it never felt quite right afterwards and, as a result, I’d lost confidence in my bowling. So I decided to go away, find my ‘own way’, and hopefully get back to where I was when I first came onto the staff. I can say now that going to Brisbane has done me the world of good.

“It was a great experience for me to go through because there was no one there to lean on. I had to work through it myself and, because there was no one telling me what to do, I’ve come back with quite a lot more confidence.

“I’m not saying I am the finished article, but I am moving in the right direction and have the self-belief now to back myself if I change a few things with my batting as well as my bowling.”

During the close season Ball took more than 20 wickets playing for Redlands, an East Brisbane grade side, but more than wickets alone the trip has, he believes, helped to define his career path.

He said: “Simon Willis has always tried to help me understand what type of player I am and what I want to become, and I do finally think I’m starting to understand that. I got ahead of myself as a youngster maybe and grew up thinking I was a left-arm fast bowler who could skittle a team in ten overs.

“The reality is I’m not that type of bowler. But I am a bowler who can do a sound job for the team and a batter who could maybe look comfortable in the top five.

“Speaking to people around the place, the management team are starting to see me as someone who could fill ‘Stevo’s’ boots. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be clearing the ropes as often as Darren, but I can be a finisher or someone in the middle order for people to bat around.

“As for my bowling, because I’m left-arm I bring something different, a bit of variety to the attack and can also create some off-stump rough to help the likes of ‘Riles’ and ‘Treddy’.

“I feel my batting technique is strong enough now to handle top five. In fact, for the seconds I’ve had quite a bit of success at No 3.

"In the short-term I’m most likely to force my way into the first team as a batter who offers another option with the ball, a fourth seamer if you like. It’s just a case now of being patient, learning my trade in the Second XI and keep believing in myself.”

Mark Pennell