Ball wants this one to be the great­est se­ries of all

The Cricket Paper - - OPINION - By Joshua Peck

LIKE many cricket fans in their early to mid20s, Eng­land bowler Jake Ball en­joyed the 2005 Ashes – so much so that he says it was a turn­ing point in his pas­sion for cricket.

Ball was 14 when Eng­land won what was ar­guably the best ever se­ries’ be­tween Eng­land and Aus­tralia, which the Three Lions fa­mously came from be­hind in to win 2-1.

The 26-year-old has played just three Tests for Eng­land but is part of the squad head­ing Down Un­der to­mor­row. And now he wants to be part of a se­ries that cap­tures a na­tion.

Ball said: “The 2005 Ashes is where ev­ery­thing got go­ing for me. My brother and I watched ev­ery ball we could in that se­ries and it got my juices flow­ing. It is what pushed me to try to get on an Ashes se­ries.

“I was big into my cricket but I saw how many peo­ple got into cricket that year. Up un­til then I did not re­alise how big cricket was in this coun­try.

“Ev­ery­body came to­gether as a na­tion to watch that and I think it cap­tured ev­ery­body’s imag­i­na­tion, it cer­tainly cap­tured mine. Hope­fully we can recre­ate what hap­pened in that se­ries out in Aus­tralia.”

Ball has claimed just two wick­ets in his three Tests but he is rel­ish­ing the unique na­ture of an Ashes bat­tle Down Un­der.

“The play­ers who have al­ready been out there in an Ashes se­ries were giv­ing ad­vice. I have been told to keep my head down,” he added.

“It can be quite a hos­tile place. The crowd and their play­ers like to get on top of you and it is about keep­ing in your own bub­ble and do­ing what you do best.

“It was very help­ful and to have the likes of Broady (Not­ting­hamshire team-mate Stu­art Broad) who I am very close with – to turn to for ad­vice.

“He has prob­a­bly seen the worst side of Aus­tralia. He got quite a lot of stick last time he was there, so to have peo­ple like him is a real pos­i­tive.

“Peo­ple say you can make your ca­reer out of an Ashes se­ries, so hope­fully I can go out there and show what I can do and put my name up in lights.”

De­spite be­ing less ex­pe­ri­enced in whites, Ball has often shone for Eng­land in lim­ited-overs cricket where he has 16 games and taken 21 wick­ets. And he can’t wait to ex­pe­ri­ence the Ashes vibe.

He added: “Get­ting all my kit and pack­ing it all makes it feel more real. I can’t wait to get out there now. I’m ex­cited to get in front of an Aus­tralian crowd if I play. So long as it doesn’t get out of hand, it’s good to have the ban­ter.

“I think you have to go out there with drive and de­ter­mi­na­tion. I’ve got per­sonal pride. It hasn’t gone my way all the time in ODI cricket this year. There’s times where it’s been hard.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

On his way: Jake Ball is part of the Eng­land squad head­ing to Aus­tralia

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