England Test call-up ‘surreal’

Jake Ball

Jake Ball has played a total of 27 first-class matches, taking 84 wickets at an average of 25.63

Jake Ball wanted to shout about his “surreal” England call-up from the “rooftops” and keeping quiet was tough.

The Nottinghamshire pace bowler, 25, is in the 12-man squad for the first Test of the three-game series against Sri Lanka, which starts on Thursday.

“The day I got the news, it didn’t quite sink in. I was sworn to secrecy,” he told BBC Nottingham Sport.

“That night I was in my flat thinking ‘I know I will be in the squad’ and I wanted to scream it from the rooftops.”

Ball was told in a face-to-face meeting with national selector James Whitaker while in the middle of a County Championship game against Middlesex at Lord’s, and joins Notts team-mates Stuart Broad and Alex Hales in the squad.

“I saw Stuart and Alex get their phone calls to say they were in and just after lunch Mick Newell [Notts director of cricket] said there was somebody who wants to speak to you.

“I walked downstairs saw James and I was delighted to get the news,” he said.

“Obviously I was over the moon. I told mum and dad and brother, but I didn’t get much sleep that night.

“The next day, when I got all the messages on Facebook, Twitter and the text messages, was when it started to sink in. It was overwhelming.”

Ball took 39 wickets in 13 Championship appearances last season, but is joint leading wicket-taker with 19 from four games so far this summer.

He met England coach Trevor Bayliss for the first time when the squad joined up for fitness tests.

“I shook hands with him and he said he didn’t recognise me,” he added.

“He said to keep doing what I have been doing. It’s very surreal but I am trying to soak it all in and enjoy it.”

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