Jake Ball boosts England international hopes

IN PICTURE: Notts County Cricket Club 2016: Jake Ball.
STORY: SPORT LEAD: Notts County Cricket Club Team /Pen pictures for season 2016.  Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, West Bridgford, Nottingham.
PHOTOGRAPHER: MARK FEAR

IN PICTURE: Notts County Cricket Club 2016: Jake Ball. STORY: SPORT LEAD: Notts County Cricket Club Team /Pen pictures for season 2016. Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, West Bridgford, Nottingham. PHOTOGRAPHER: MARK FEAR

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Despite Nottinghamshire’s disappointing defeat against Lancashire this week, the Old Trafford match provided further evidence that Jake Ball may be inching closer towards gaining international recognition.

Many fine observers have been impressed with his start to the season, which has already brought him 12 wickets in just two Division One fixtures.

“I’ve seen some of the articles and it’s really nice to read what people have been writing about me,” said the 25 year old seam bowler. “But I’m just trying to keep level-headed and keep doing what I’m doing for Notts. Hopefully that will take me further up the ladder.”

Ball had a break-out season last year, taking 41 first class wickets after getting his first real run in the side but his debut came way back in 2011 when he played in Nottinghamshire’s champion county game against the MCC in Abu Dhabi.

“It was obviously great to make my debut in those circumstances and obviously brilliant to go back again this year as part of the MCC team.”

Ball spent much of the winter in the United Arab Emirates, and admitted to thoroughly enjoying this phase of his life. “I think I did alright for air miles,” he laughed. “I went to the UAE on four separate occasions through the winter, twice with the England Lions, once with Notts and also for that MCC game against Yorkshire.

“Our team was made up of individuals from different counties but collectively we all wanted to put one over on the champions, to sort of put them on the back foot, a little bit, for the start of the season. Thankfully we did that. I got a few wickets and really enjoyed it and to come away with a win was the icing on the cake.”

Ball’s experience in getting one over the reigning champions may come in handy, as Yorkshire are Nottinghamshire’s next opponents.

“They were missing a few players but still had a strong squad out there,” said Ball. “But it’s nice to beat them and put it in the back of their heads that if they do lose a few players, that teams can beat them and I think we showed that out there.”

Both sides are likely to be at full strength when they clash at Trent Bridge on Sunday week, with Alex Hales returning for Notts and Joe Root coming back for the White Rose.

“It’s going to be a massive game. I spoke to Stuart Broad about it a few weeks ago and you look at both teams, at the international experience in both teams, it’s phenomenal. It’s going to be televised as well, so I think it should be a cracking game.”

Before then Ball has another important date on his personal calendar. As a big Everton fan he’s going to Wembley this weekend to see his side take on Manchester United in the FA Cup semi finals.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he smiled. “I think we can beat them but my only problem then is wondering how I can get Mick (Newell) to let me have time off to go to the Final.”