The selection of rookie pacer Jake Ball in England’s 12 man squad for the first test against Sri Lanka is being perceived as positive news. Ball has been simply fantastic in the ongoing county championship with extremely impressive numbers for Nottinghamshire. The pacer already has taken 19 wickets at a phenomenal average of just 21.15.
The ball could be handed his debut if the selectors opt to persist with him instead of the inconsistent Steven Finn. Finn’s recent career has been marred by injuries and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Ball is given a nod ahead of Finn. The ball was recently backed by teammate Stuart Broad, and former Sri Lankan batting great Kumar Sangakkara to do well for the upcoming series.
“Having seen him grow over the last three or four years, he’s one of the quickest-improving bowlers I’ve seen in a while,” Broad said at an event recently.”He’s tall, he’s got pace, he gets the bounce from a fuller length, he’s got the skill to go around the wicket and over the wicket to the left-handers, and to move it in and out of the right-handers,” Broad added. “He’s got every attribute to be a successful Test match bowler. It’s a good move to get him involved in the squad, and he’ll be very excited about joining up, I’m sure.”
“He got a lot fitter and stronger, which really helps with his extra bounce as he really bounds in with a bit more energy in his run-up,” said Broad. “I think he enjoyed his experience with the Lions in the winter, reports came back of him really impressing with his skills, as he’s got a lot of white-ball skills as well, and that’s a good place to be.”
Sangakkara was also full in awe of Ball in his interaction with ESPN Cricinfo. “He’s improved his line and length,” Sangakkara said. “Instead of searching for wickets, he tries to bowl the ball in exactly the right area, and wait for the batsman to make a mistake or for the ball to do something that allows him to get a wicket. That’s something that any bowler takes a while to learn, and to have Jake learn that at a young age is very important.”
“When I faced him he did exactly that, he swung the ball into the left-handers and he can bowl very well both round and over the wicket. That constant movement of the ball troubles any batsman. He also bowls a heavy ball, he’s not the quickest but he’s very challenging in English conditions,” the southpaw added.