Jake Ball: Nottinghamshire seamer 'fitter, stronger and livelier' - Chris Read

Jake Ball in action for Nottinghamshire
Jake Ball took 5-98 against Surrey in Nottinghamshire's County Championship season opener

Pace bowler Jake Ball has made a "lively" return following a winter playing for England Lions, says Nottinghamshire captain Chris Read.

Ball, who featured against Pakistan A in Dubai, has taken six wickets in each of Notts' first two games and is the leading wicket-taker in Division One of the County Championship so far in 2016.

Read said of the 25-year-old: "Last winter he got fitter and stronger.

"Now he's genuinely lively and he does plenty with the new ball."

Read said Ball's assured early showings have demanded he lead Notts' bowling attack with the new ball alongside England's Stuart Broad.

"Jake is in fantastic form with the ball," continued Read. "He's had a great winter having been in Dubai with the Lions and has had a taste of what life is like with the ECB set-up. He's really keen to progress that side of his career."

Notts director of cricket Mick Newell said Ball, who was their second-highest County Championship wicket taker with 39 last season, said he has been "terrific" so far in 2016.

"That's a fantastic start to the season and he's setting a great example," added Newell.

Despite Ball's efforts against Lancashire, Notts suffered an eight-wicket defeat in their second Country Championship match of the season on Wednesday, having beaten Surrey in their opening fixture.

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