Ball aims to prove he can bounce back with England
“I don’t think one game is any time to nail down a spot.”
Jake Ball believes he is still awaiting a proper opportunity to prove his England credentials after a miserable winter in which he went from a near automatic selection to forgotten man.
Ball had been identified as a bowler suited to Australian conditions ahead of the Ashes but returned match figures of one for 115 in the first Test at Brisbane, his preparation hampered by an ankle injury.
The Nottinghamshire seamer was overlooked for the remainder of the series and his stock fell further when he lost his place in England’s Test and one-day international squads for the tour of New Zealand that followed.
While the 27-year-old accepts he could do more to push his claims after taking only three wickets in his four Test appearances, he pointed out that a lack of successive games has prevented him from proving he belongs at international level, something he is hoping to rectify this year.
Ball told Press Association Sport: “I don’t think one game is any time to nail down a spot. I think you need to be given a few games.
“I’ve played four Tests: one one-off game in England, two at the back end of an India series and one at the start of the Ashes series.
“I haven’t had a run of games where I’ve shown what I can do and proved to people what I can do.
“In that sense it’s been frustrating and I’d quite like a run in the side but you’re not always going to get that. Sometimes you have to take that one opportunity.
“For me so far it hasn’t worked out but hopefully I’m given a chance at some point this summer or maybe even the winter.”
The balance of England’s attack – four right-arm fast-medium pacers and spinner – was criticised after their 4-0 drubbing in Australia.
Ball was tasked with an unfamiliar role of enforcer in Brisbane, where he claimed the crucial wicket of David Warner early on but found little joy thereafter.
He said: “I know I can bowl 85mph plus. I’ve got the height, I can get good bounce, get a bit of seam movement and I’ve proved that with Notts. I’d say England haven’t quite seen that from me yet.
“Out in Australia, I was asked to bowl a lot of short stuff, stuff I’m not used to, but you have to be prepared to do those jobs.
“When you go into a side that’s got Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, you’re not going to be the one that takes the new ball and bowls when it’s nice to bowl.
“You’re going to bowl the overs which are harder and the overs you’re not comfortable with.”
Ball’s batting against short-pitched barrages from Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins was highlighted as an area of weakness.
But he surprisingly took comfort from facing the fearsome pace trio, adding: “Even though I didn’t look as comfortable as I’d liked to have done, it was a massive confidence boost to go out there and actually go ‘you know what, that’s as hard as it gets’.
“Runs from number eight down are valuable and I think what actually wins you championships, what wins you Test series, is the late runs. And I’m looking to hopefully score a few of those for Notts this year.”