Jacob Timothy Ball
March 14, 1991, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Right hand bat
Right arm fast medium
Jake Ball, a powerfully-built pace bowler who had made his mark at Nottinghamshire primarily in white-ball cricket, made his England debut in Tests and ODIs during the 2016 season. His ODI debut was the more spectacular as he became the first England bowler to take five wickets on a one-day international debut. The fact it came in challenging conditions in Dhaka made it even more meritorious.
His Test debut had come earlier that summer, against Pakistan at Lord's, and with 54 first-class wickets at 23 to his name he was selected for close-season duties, too, on winter tours of Bangladesh and India. There was to be no repeat of his startling ODI introduction. Indeed, the day after he was chosen for England's 2017-18 Ashes tour party, he went for 94 in an ODI against West Indies in Southampton (England's third most expensive analysis at the time), only for England to ease his pain by waltzing to a 289 target with nine wickets and 12 overs to spare.
The nephew of Bruce French, the former Nottinghamshire and England wicket-keeper, Ball is a former England Under-19 international. He made his Nottinghamshire debut at the end of the 2009 season, against Sussex in a Pro40 match at Hove. Bowling right-arm medium-pace, he claimed Rory Hamilton-Brown as his first senior wicket but when he batted he was out first ball as Dwayne Smith completed a hat-trick.
He played in two Under-19 Test matches in 2010, taking 5 for 64 in the second innings against Sri Lanka at Scarborough, to set up an England win. He made his first class debut for Nottinghamshire in the Champion County v MCC match in Abu Dhabi in March 2011, taking 3 for 72 in the second innings. Most of his county cricket so far has been in the one-day, in which he impressed enough in 2012 to be named Nottinghamshire's Young Player of the Year and be awarded a one-year contract extension.
Ball's biggest impact in the early part of his Nottinghamshire career came in the semifinal of the YB40 in 2013 when he took 4 for 25, his best figures in senior cricket, as Somerset were beaten by some distance. Ball missed the final because of a back injury but could at least watch with satisfaction from afar as Notts brushed aside Glamorgan to claim their fist piece of one-day silverware for more than 20 years.
After his 2014 season was disrupted by a broken foot his continued success in white-ball cricket in 2015 earned him recognition. His reputation as a fast bowler of promise was cemented when he was one of a group of young fast bowlers called up for an England Development Programme fast bowling camp and given a place on an England Lions tour of Pakistan. His breakthrough season had brought 39 Championship wickets, allied to a late-order penchant for six hitting.
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