Express pace is what Test sides crave and Samit Patel believes his Nottinghamshire Outlaws team-mate Jake Ball will be England’s speed gun before long.
Ball, who began playing at Welbeck CC, has grabbed the England selectors’ attention after a superb start to the county season at Trent Bridge – taking 25 wickets at a tidy average of 20.16.
But his first England cap remains tantalisingly out of reach as, despite injury to all-rounder Ben Stokes, Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes was instead selected for the second Test against Sri Lanka at Chester-le-Street.
Patel though believes 12th man duties will soon be a thing of the past for 25-year-old Ball such has been his rapid improvement – he was not even a regular fixture for Notts last year.
“He’s very close, he came on leaps and bounds from last year, now this year he’s knocking over some very good players,” said Patel.
“He’s got Joe Root out and it’s the pace he bowls at, it’s a natural pace that he has. He’s in a good place at the minute.
“He’s tall, swings it, and he’s got pace – I don’t think you need much else but he’s also got a good brain.
“He understands when to bowl flat out, he knows when to rein it in a bit and that’s the sign of a good bowler.
“He then knows when to stack it up and bowl dots and he’s happy with that.”
The Royal London One-Day Cup will be another avenue for Ball to impress and all-rounder Patel has designs on an England recall too.
Patel has not been included in the one-day side since 2013 but retains ambitions to play for his country in next year’s ICC Champions Trophy tournament and the 2019 World Cup, both to be held in England.
With the likely absence of Alex Hales to England and James Taylor’s sudden retirement, the 31-year-old will need to wield his influence as a senior figure – starting with the first fixture against Northamptonshire Steelbacks on June 6.
“(A recall) would be massive; it’s exactly what I want to do,” added Patel.
“We know we have the Champions Trophy next year and then the 2019 World Cup and that’s what I want to try and aim for, to get into one of those squads.
“I am just trying to score as many runs as I can and take as many wickets as I can and hopefully that will take me to where I want to be.
“If you have a good Royal London One-Day Cup it can put your name in the hat because you know if you are a consistent performer you can be selected.”
- As proud sponsors of the One Day Cup, Royal London is giving away match tickets to see the action live. Visit royallondoncricket.com to enter.