Jake Ball's England success no shock to Darren Bicknell

Jake Ball
Jake Ball became the 671st man to play Test cricket for England

Jake Ball's rise from Nottinghamshire reject to Test opening bowler is no surprise to the man who helped get his career back on track at Trent Bridge.

Ex-Notts opener Darren Bicknell was a player-coach with club side Welbeck and saw the potential of England's latest debutant when the fast bowler struggled to break through at county level.

Ball took his first Test wicket against Pakistan at Lord's on Thursday.

Bicknell told BBC Nottingham that Ball, 25, had a "rare sort of ability".

He continued: "The first year I was was at Welbeck he was just chugging along, but all of a sudden something happened.

"By the pre-season of the second year I was in the nets and I remember a few balls whizzing past my nose fairly rapidly thinking 'hang on something has happened here, what's gone on?'

"He was a young lad who had been on the Notts radar, but had fallen off for one reason or another.

"Jake had grown and discovered this ability to bowl pretty quickly and from there on in I thought we need to get him back in the frame."

Ball, who made his county debut for Notts in a one-day match as an 18-year-old in 2009, earned his international call-up after taking 31 wickets in the County Championship this season, at an average of 23.94.

Darren Bicknell
Darren Bicknell joined Notts from Surrey in 2000 and scored more than 1000 runs to help them win the championship title in 2005

Bicknell, who played for Notts for six years from 2000, said Ball had plenty more to his bowling than just sheer pace.

"It wasn't just that it went past so quickly," he explained. "It just looked so easy with him and when you see that in a young player, you recognise immediately that have natural talent and something that you can work with.

"It was a time we thought we need to get him back in at Notts because he had this rare gift."

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