Kent’s burgeoning teenage all-rounder Adam Ball has been selected to captain England Under-19s in their upcoming Test and one-day series against South Africa U-19s, starting on July 16.
The 18-year-old Beths Grammar School pupil from Bexley, a fast-developing lower middle-order batsman and left-arm pace bowler, has been named to lead a 14-man squad which includes county colleague Daniel Bell-Drummond, who attends Millfield School.
Ball has captured the imagination of Kent supporters this season with some plucky displays with bat and ball after being thrown in at the first team deep end due to injuries and the cash-strapped county’s small squad.
He scored a spirited 46 on his County Championship debut against Gloucestershire and has picked up a couple of wickets on five different occasions in four-day and one-day cricket.
Ball said: “Obviously it’s a big achievement to play for your country and it’s an honour to be captain of the side. It will be a great experience and bring a new dimension to my cricket – as both a leader and captain. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Bell-Drummond is still awaiting his four-day bow, but he too impressed by scoring a fluent 80 on his first-class debut in May when an emerging Kent XI, captained by former England Under-19 batsman Sam Northeast, secured an emphatic innings and 70-run win over Loughborough MCCU at Canterbury.
Tim Boon, the England Development Programme head coach, said: “Selecting this squad was a very challenging process because of the large group of outstanding players available. This series provides valuable opportunities for our talented young cricketers to accelerate their learning and progress in world class environments in both competition and training.
“South Africa will provide us with tough opposition throughout the summer and vital experience on our journey to the U19 World Cup in Australia next summer.
“England Development Players are both challenged and supported by a highly specialised management team to take players to the edge of their capabilities in learning to win games of cricket, including areas such as game strategy, leadership, mental toughness and the athleticism required at the highest level.
“We want players to take responsibility for their performance and to play with confidence and freedom as they strive to win games of cricket for England.”
England Under-19 squad: Adam Ball (Kent, capt), Daniel Bell-Drummond (Kent), Peter Burgoyne (Derbyshire), Ben Foakes (Essex), Gavin Griffiths (Lancashire), Brett Hutton (Nottinghamshire), Aneesh Kapil (Worcestershire), Sam Kelsall (Nottinghamshire), Tom Knight (Derbyshire), Jamie Overton (Somerset), Adam Rossington (Middlesex), Shiv Thakor (Leicestershire), Reece Topley (Essex), Sam Wood (Nottinghamshire).