England’s assistant coach Paul Farbrace has stated that fast-bowler Jake Ball is “in the mix” to be part of the playing XI for the first Ashes Test scheduled to begin on 23rd November at the Gabba in Brisbane. The lanky fast bowler missed England’s final warm-up game owing to an ankle injury, but reports have emerged that he had started bowling in the nets and is all set to be fit for the opening Test.
“We have thought for some time that Jake’s skills would be suited to bowling in Australia. That is why we’re keen to get him available,” said Farbrace.
The England team management is planning to make Ball bowl at least 15 overs in the nets and spend some time fielding on the final day of the warm-up game against a Cricket Australia XI.
Following the warm-up game, the team will travel to Gabba for the opening Test on Thursday.
“The hope is that by the end of the day he’ll have some good time in his legs to give him every chance of being selected next week. If he then has a good bowl on Tuesday, it should be pretty clear which way we want to go,” said Farbrace.
Ball has so far taken a couple of wickets in 3 Tests and is competing with uncapped Craig Overton for the final place in the bowling attack. Overton is no mug with the bat and can contribute some valuable runs lower down the order comparing to Ball. Bowling consultant Shane Bond had earlier said in the week that Overton is in “pole position” to start the first Test.
When asked whether runs would be a factor, Farbrace said that it is important to pick the right bowler than looking at one more batting option. “It’s important that you pick the right bowler,” said Farbrace.
“Craig has done himself no harm. If he gets picked next Thursday, he thoroughly deserves it. Last week we were thinking that we needed to get someone out from England and we were wondering who we were going to go for. Now we have two guys and either can be picked. It’s a good position for us to be in,” concluded Farbrace.