Niluka Karunaratne

Stuart Broad sees a lot of himself in England’s latest fast-bowling call-up, Jake Ball, but plans to keep the advice to a minimum should his Nottinghamshire team-mate be granted his Test debut against Sri Lanka at Headingley next Thursday.

As one of two uncapped players in the squad named on Thursday, along with the Hampshire batsman James Vince, Ball’s rise has been sharp. The 25-year-old fast bowler impressed with England Lions over the winter and has started the season in rich form with 19 wickets in his side’s first four County Championship matches.

It was at Trent Bridge at the start of this month, against Yorkshire in a match televised by Sky, where Ball truly grabbed his chance, with his four wickets in the champions’ first innings including Test batsmen Adam Lyth, Joe Root and Gary Ballance.
His county colleague Broad, the world’s No1 bowler in Test cricket at present, likens the 6ft 2in right-armer’s methods to his own and while Steven Finn is the incumbent third seamer, having played the first three Tests against South Africa in the winter prior to injury, Ball’s early-season form will see him pushed hard.

“Jake is a player I’ve seen a lot of and he’s developed so quickly,” said Broad. “He is similar to me in height and what he tries to do with the ball. He gets good pace, moves the ball both away and into the right-hander, and away from the left-handers. The selectors have done well to pick a guy in form.

“We’re friends and I can talk him through things, but the way he’s bowling at the minute, I would just let him go. The quickest way to learn is through your own experience. In international cricket you have got to learn quickly and those that last do that.
“Discussions and learning comes when we go to India [in the winter], where he’s never played. But right now I won’t be going to him too much because he just needs to stay in the great rhythm he’s in. I don’t want to be the man to disrupt that.” (The Guardian)