Ben Duckett

Rob John­son dis­cov­ers that the Eng­land bats­man is not mak­ing ma­jor changes to his tech­nique

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE -

The Northants man re­veals his plans for an Eng­land come­back

As far as one-day cricket is go­ing, I’m fairly happy at the mo­ment. There’s no real tech­ni­cal stuff that I’m work­ing on

It is clear that Ben Duckett doesn’t want to dwell on his win­ter with Eng­land. It started promis­ingly with his Test de­but and some ex­cel­lent one-day per­for­mances in Bangladesh but rather fiz­zled out in India.

He was dropped af­ter the sec­ond Test of the five-match se­ries and not picked for the one-day tour. Clearly frus­trated but also bullish, Duckett is now firmly con­cen­trat­ing on the fu­ture.

“What’s hap­pened this win­ter isn’t re­ally rel­e­vant when you go back to Eng­land and those con­di­tions,” Duckett told The Cricket Pa­per.

“It’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent. If I go to Aus­tralia, South Africa, India, you have to adapt to those sit­u­a­tions. I’ll for­get about what hap­pened this win­ter and re­mem­ber what ex­actly I did last sum­mer that was the rea­son for my suc­cess.”

Off-spin­ner Ravi Ashwin dis­missed Duckett in each of his three Test in­nings in India, bowl­ing round the wicket, aim­ing the ball on middle and leg and turn­ing it away from the left-han­der.

An­other off-spin­ner, Me­hedi Has­san, dis­missed Duckett twice in the two Tests in Bangladesh although the Northants man did score a half-cen­tury in the sec­ond match. Tech­ni­cally, there seemed to be a flaw in his ap­proach, plant­ing his front foot out­side the line of leg stump, ex­pos­ing his stumps and out­side edge.

When asked about the dif­fi­cul­ties he faced in the Sub-con­ti­nent, Duckett said: “The main dif­fer­ence is that it ob­vi­ously turns whereas in Eng­land it doesn’t turn very much.

“When you’re fac­ing world-class spin­ners in their con­di­tions, it’s al­ways go­ing to be very dif­fi­cult. I faced spin all last sum­mer and played it fairly well but at the end of the day, in India, the ball turns side­ways so it’s com­pletely dif­fer­ent.

“I’ve been on a fair few tours there be­fore but, ob­vi­ously at the top level, it’s very tough in those con­di­tions. It was an ex­tremely tough first tour to go on. It was full of ups and downs but, look­ing back now, I’m not go­ing to think too much into the cricket, but tour­ing with Eng­land was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“Fin­gers crossed, I’ll get an­other chance in the fu­ture.”

Duckett cuts a frus­trated fig­ure. Re­luc­tant to con­cede he is mak­ing any tech­ni­cal changes – “Not re­ally, I’ve had a few weeks off” – he still firmly be­lieves in his own method and gives a good im­pres­sion of al­most not car­ing about what has gone be­fore.

Was he ready for a Test de­but? One county cap­tain be­lieves that Duckett is a promis­ing player but was al­ways likely to take longer to ad­just to Test cricket than Haseeb Hameed or Keaton Jen­nings be­cause he plies his trade in Di­vi­sion Two of the Cham­pi­onship.

The weaker bowl­ing at­tacks can’t repli­cate the in­ten­sity or con­sis­tency of Test match bowlers.

Be­fore Duckett, 22, is writ­ten off, it should be re­mem­bered that he was last year’s PCA Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year and scored over 2,700 runs in all cricket last sea­son.

He is a fine young tal­ent and, ar­guably, should have been in India with Eng­land’s ODI squad af­ter two half cen­turies from three in­nings in Bangladesh. His Test chance will come again.

For now, Duckett is look­ing ahead to the chal­lenges of the next few months with Is­lam­abad United in the Pak­istan Su­per League, the Eng­land Li­ons in Sri Lanka and then Northants. He has also been se­lected in the MCC squad to play Mid­dle­sex in the four-day cur­tain-raiser to the county sea­son in Abu Dhabi.

Duckett still hopes to be con­sid­ered for this sum­mer’s Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy. To that end, he won’t play for the Li­ons in their two four-day matches against Sri Lanka A this month but will work on his one-day skills in the PSL be­fore join­ing up with the Li­ons for their five-game one-day se­ries.

He will not, how­ever, be join­ing the IPL auc­tion in or­der to make him­self avail­able for the start of Northants’ Cham­pi­onship sea­son.

“If I was asked to go to any of the T20 com­pe­ti­tions, I’d nor­mally say yes,” said Duckett. “This year, with the IPL clash­ing with the English sum­mer, I don’t think I’ll be go­ing in to the auc­tion be­cause I want to get as many runs un­der my belt in Eng­land with all the cricket that’s com­ing up. But if there was an op­tion to go the Big Bash next win­ter, I’d def­i­nitely go out there.

“As far as my one-day cricket is go­ing, I’m fairly happy at the mo­ment. There’s no real tech­ni­cal stuff I’m work­ing on. All I can do is score as many runs as I can for the Li­ons, in the PSL and in the 50-over com­pe­ti­tion at the start of the sum­mer, try to win some games to keep knock­ing on that door.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

Ups and downs: Ben Duckett, left, hits out dur­ing the ODI se­ries against Bangladesh but, right, strug­gles in the first-class game on the In­dian leg of the tour

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