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Kent’s Adam Ball previews this week’s two U19 matches

Tuesday 10th August 2010

England Under 19“s v Sri Lanka Under 19“s
Two One-Day Internationals
Thursday, 12 August & Friday, 13 August 2010
10.45am scheduled start on each morning
St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury

By Sam Dixon

This week the St Lawrence Ground plays host to some stars of the future as the England Under 19“s take on their Sri Lankan counterparts in two 50-over matches as their Youth ODI series draws to a close. With the sides locked at one game apiece, a dramatic end to the series is promised. We caught up with Kent-star Adam Ball (pictured), an integral member of the England squad, as he expressed his delight at playing on home turf and revealed what it“s like being away with the national team.

After England took the lead in the series opener at Cambridge, the tourists bounced back at Arundel claiming a five-wicket victory before the second game on the Sussex coast was washed out after just eleven overs. Now with the series delicately poised, Ball is looking forward to showcasing his talents on his home ground: “I“m looking forward to playing at Canterbury; in front of my home crowd. I haven“t had too much of an opportunity to play here but I know a bit about the wicket and what conditions will be like so I will be able to pass that on to the rest of the team. At St Lawrence it“s important to do the basics right so hopefully if we do that then we can get the right result. For me though, personally, it will be nice to show the home fans what I can do as they probably haven“t seen much of me so hopefully I will be able to perform and contribute to the team.”

The sides have already met in a two-match Test-series and two T20 internationals, both were drawn 1-1, finally something has to give at the St Lawrence Ground as a long tour comes to a close. 17 year-old Ball has been involved with the squad all the way and has thoroughly enjoyed his month away with the national side: “It has been quite a long month away with the lads but it“s been well worth it. There is a great spirit in the camp and everyone gets on with each other which is good, especially as a lot of us haven“t played cricket together before. The time away will bode well for the future as in county cricket you have to do a lot of travelling around; spending time away from home as there is so such much championship cricket to play on the circuit. The experience has helped me and I“m looking forward to hopefully finishing on a high.”

This season is the all-rounder“s first as a professional with Kent and with the county holding high hopes for the youngster, he is looking to use the rest this campaign as a stepping stone for the future: “So far this season it“s been a bit hit and miss for me. My school studies remain important so they take up a lot of my cricketing time, and then came the time away with England. Kent-wise I may have missed the boat of making a first-team appearance this time around but once we finish with England I“m looking forward to getting my head-down in the seconds and trying to impress. If I can do this then you never know what might happen.”

The Sri Lankans have provided a stern test for England this summer as the results suggest and Ball provided an insight into what the St Lawrence crowd can expect over the next couple of days: “Sri Lanka have proved to be very competitive throughout the tour. Like many Asian sides, they are loud in the field and put a lot of energy into everything. Batting wise they have an awful lot of left-handers which we have had to adapt to, I think eight of their eleven are lefties. The thing that makes them different though from many other Asian sides, and even their own senior side, is that their seamers have caused us the most problems. They have been a constant threat to us and done most of the damage in comparison to the spinners. They are a talented side but I certainly think we have more than matched them throughout.”

With plenty of drama expected in the final two encounters at Canterbury, Ball is confident England, led by Warwickshire“s left-arm spinner Paul Best, can take glory right at the death: “The second Arundel washout was a bit of a blow to us as we wanted to come down to Kent with a lead but that can“t be helped. Now we have to give it one final push as there is everything to play for. Both sides will be up for it but we just have to make sure we stick to our plans and if we do I“m confident we can finish on top.”

Tickets are available on the gate for both matches. The price is £5 for adults and £2 for juniors. Come along and cheer on the next generation of international talent!

Picture:Getty Images