England skipper Alastair Cook has this lunchtime confirmed that Mansfield’s Jake Ball will make his Test debut in the First Test against Pakistan at Lord’s tomorrow.
The 25-year-old former Welbeck CC paceman has been hugely impressive this season, taking 31 county championship wickets at an average of 23.94.
Ball’s prowess in the first half of the 2016 season, following an eye-catching December tour of Dubai with the England Lions, pushed Ball onto the cusp of an England Test debut.
A clatter of County Championship wickets in April and early May brought him selection to the senior national squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka at Headingley, where he missed out to the more experienced Steven Finn as back-up seamer to Jimmy Anderson, now out injured, and county team-mate Stuart Broad.
That situation remained unchanged for the second and third Tests as England wrapped up a 2-0 series win.
Last week, he said: “It has been frustrating not to make my England debut, particularly in the third Test when we had already won the series. But the long term carrot is there to take over from the older bowlers when they retire.
“I do feel ready. I feel my game is at a place where it has never been before and I’m really comfortable with the way I go about my game and how I prepare.
“Will I get to make my debut this summer? It’s looking like I might only get in because of injury with the way the other lads have bowled in the series, but, like for Notts, it’s about taking your chance when it does come.”
But that chance has finally arrived – at the home of cricket, too.