Ball eager to prove critics wrong
Fast bowler Jake Ball hoped that his performance on his test debut against Pakistan would help silence those critics who questioned his inclusion in the team.
The 25-year-old, who was brought in to replace injured James Anderson, looked threatening early on, and was duly rewarded in his second spell when he trapped Azhar Ali lbw to pick up his first international wicket.
Ball finished with figures of one for 51 in 19 overs at the end of the first day’s play.
“People were sending me messages the day before and the advice was to enjoy it,” Ball told British media.
“I took that into today (Thursday) and hopefully proved to people I can play test cricket.”
Ball also credited his county team mate Stuart Broad and uncle, England’s wicketkeeping coach Bruce French, for helping him to settle down nerves on the first day.
“Getting my cap from Bruce settled me down,” Ball added.
“He told me how proud the whole family are of me and to receive it from my uncle was an extra special moment. It was nice, he was holding back the tears.
“As for settling in, it was nice to have Stuart (Broad) there at mid-on and off, talking me through it and keeping me calm.”
Ball was unlucky not to have picked up his first wicket earlier in the day’s play, as Pakistan opener Shan Masood survived an lbw review.
“(The review, second ball) looked pretty close where I was. I was probably a bit caught in the moment but we all agreed and it was a bit unfortunate. Had we got that, it would have been worth it.
“With the wicket, I was very anxious when I first saw it — I thought it might be slipping down. To see it just clipping was a real relief.”