Adam Ball: Kent’s special talent

THE Bexley all-rounder Adam Ball, 16, has been called up by England for next month’s Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand to replace Calum Haggett, of Somerset, who withdrew on medical advice.

Ball, a Kent Academy left-armer already in the ECB fast-bowling elite group, scored a 118-ball century for Bexley in the Kent League last July, an achievement at Tunbridge Wells that marked him out as a player of special promise at such a young age. The Beths Grammar School pupil was a deserved winner of the league’s Young Cricketer of the Year award at the end of the season.

The England Under-19 squad, captained by the Yorkshire off-spinner Azeem Rafiq, are due to leave on Jan 1 for a week acclimatising in Wellington before reporting to Christchurch for the start of the World Cup. England play two warm-up matches against Papua New Guinea Under-19 on Jan 11 and New Zealand Under-19 on Jan 12.

England’s first match in the group stages will be against Hong Kong at Lincoln University on Jan 16, followed by Afghanistan at Queen Elizabeth II Park in New Brighton on Jan 18 and by the holders India at Lincoln on Jan 20. The top two teams in each group will progress to the quarter-finals. The final will be held at Lincoln on Jan 30.

England Under-19 Squad

Adam Ball Kent

Michael Bates Hampshire

Paul Best Warwickshire

Danny Briggs Hampshire

Nathan Buck Leicestershire

Jos Buttler Somerset

Chris Dent Gloucestershire

Matthew Dunn Surrey

Ateeq Javid Warwickshire

Jack Manuel Worcestershire

David Payne Gloucestershire

Azeem Rafiq Yorkshire, capt

Joe Root Yorkshire

Ben Stokes Durham

James Vince Hampshire

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