Runs mat­ter most in Eng­land cause

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport - By Alex Hoad

Daniel Bell-Drum­mond hopes his in­cred­i­ble form in the first half of the sea­son can help him join Kent team-mate Sam Billings in the Eng­land set-up.

Although he has man­aged just 36 runs in his last three ap­pear­ances in the past week, the 22-year-old opener has more than 1,200 runs in all com­pe­ti­tions al­ready this sea­son and has been the sub­ject of praise from all quar­ters.

Bell-Drum­mond claimed he was not sur­prised by his form, say­ing: “I’ve rid­den my luck at times and bat­ted well at times. I’m just grate­ful it’s hap­pened.

“I’m happy with how I’ve been. It’s been a bit dif­fer­ent to pre­vi­ous sea­sons but I just want to keep my head down and keep my form up for my­self and the team.”

Bell-Drum­mond re­vealed he had not been con­tacted by Eng­land selectors amid his run of form but hadn’t ex­pected to re­ceive a white-ball call this week.

He said: “I haven’t heard any­thing and wasn’t ex­pect­ing to.

“A few peo­ple have said a few nice things to me. It’s an hon­our to think that peo­ple are bang­ing my drum. It shows how well I’ve done.”

Bell-Drum­mond was named in the Eng­land Per­for­mance Pro­gramme train­ing squad be­fore Christ­mas and then the Eng­land Lions white-ball squad to face Pak­istan A in Ja­nury, hav­ing pre­vi­ously earned Eng­land un­der-19 hon­ours aged just 16.

He ad­mit­ted: “At the start of the sea­son I’d just come back, hadn’t played much for the Lions, had a few nig­gles. I didn’t know how the sea­son was go­ing to pan out.”

“My dream is to play for Eng­land one day but I’ve got to keep scor­ing runs – I’ve only done it con­sis­tently for th­ese three months just gone. I’m des­per­ate to keep my form go­ing and score runs for Kent and keep push­ing for higher hon­ours.”

While Bell-Drum­mond be­ing over­looked for the Eng­land ODI squad on Mon­day was no sur­prise, Billings be­ing over­looked was, although the keeper-bats­man, who turned 25 on Wed­nes­day did earn a T20 call to face Sri Lanka on July 5.

Skip­per Sam North­east said: “It was a sur­prise. Ap­par­ently he knew be­fore the game last Sun­day (against Glam­or­gan when Billings hit 106 not out from 54 balls).

“He went out and got a hun­dred so that’s prob­a­bly a bit of a wakeup call to selectors.”

As for Bell-Drum­mond, North­east added: “Ev­ery­one takes it for granted now – if he doesn’t get 60-plus we’re all dis­ap­pointed. Hope­fully, peo­ple above are look­ing at him be­cause he’s cer­tainly in great nick.”

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