Player Diary: George Balderson
Lancashire youngster George Balderson checks in from South Africa, where he is preparing to lead England Under-19s at the World Cup
I am writing this from England’s training base in South Africa, ahead of our opening match of the ICC Under-19 World Cup, the tournament kicked off yesterday with the hosts in action and our campaign starts in Kimberley on Monday against West Indies.
It was a huge honour to be named captained of an extremely talented group of lads and our confidence is high as we head into a tournament which has been famous for producing some of the biggest names in world cricket including Ben Stokes, Virat Kohli and more recently Shimron Hetmyer.
Our two warm-up matches ahead of the tournament have brought about mixed experiences, in our opener against Zimbabwe we had bowled them out cheaply for 116 and I was pleased to claim bowling figures of 3/16, before a huge storm hit Pretoria and ended the game, just one over into our chase.
Unfortunately, we were beaten by Afghanistan in our final warm-up in Hammanskraal on Tuesday. After restricting them to 205-8, we were disappointed to fall short by 21 runs – but the setback has made the lads all the more determined going into Monday’s opener.
As a pace bowler, it’s been great to work with our Head Coach Jon Lewis on this trip and during in tri-series in Antigua before Christmas. Jon played at the highest level for England in both Test and ODI cricket, as well having a fantastic county career, so it’s been fascinating to hear from somebody with his experience.
I’m really excited about our chances at this tournament and as I touched on earlier this is a really talented squad. Several have first-team experience for their counties, including Worcestershire batsman Jack Haynes, Gloucestershire all-rounder Ben Charlesworth, off spinner Hamidullah Qadri and wicketkeeper Jordan Cox, who are both at Kent.
As well as West Indies, we’re also in Group B alongside Australia and Nigeria, with the top two progressing into the next round. I am looking forward to updating you on my progress later in the tournament, when hopefully we have reached the latter stages.
All the best,
Roses Match: Tickets on sale
Grab your tickets now for the iconic Lancashire Lightning v Yorkshire Vikings Roses Match at Emirates Old Trafford on Friday 10 July.
This unmissable T20 fixture is the biggest game on the domestic calendar, with a record T20 crowd for the past three years…and we expect 2020 to be even bigger and better.
Don’t miss out on this fierce rivalry and book your tickets now, with adults from £20 and juniors from £5.