By Jack Miller
WHILE all eyes were on England’s Under-19s as the television trucks rolled up at Canterbury on Tuesday, it was the same old story for Andy Hurry’s side as they were swept aside by another dominant India performance.
But it’s no secret where the issues lie according to Will Jacks, and the young Surrey batsman is backing his teammates to bounce back with the one-day international series still on the line.
England now trail 2-0 – having lost the Youth Tests by the same scoreline – but with three games still to play there is still an outside chance of overall victory.
The Young Lions will need a big change in fortunes however, with India’s exceptional young spinners – Anukul Roy (4-27) and Rahul Chahar (3-26) – once again the thorn in their side during the eight-wicket defeat on Tuesday.
The hosts made it to 84-1, but the loss of seven wickets for just 58 runs then completely scuppered any hopes of victory, and India eased to their target of 177 with a century of balls remaining.
And 18-year-old Jacks, who made 21 before he was bowled by Roy, admits England need to do their homework and learn their lessons – and do it quickly.
“It was tough,” he said. “We didn’t really execute any of our plans in all departments, but especially after a good opening spell with the bat, when the spin came on we really struggled to rotate the strike.
“We gave away wickets consistently and after that there was just no chance we were going to get a good score.
“We then bowled too many looseners at them; once they got to 50-0 off the first ten overs there was no way back from there.
“We’ve had good starts against the openers in both games and then faltered when the spinners have come on. They are better than what we usually face in England, but that comes with playing international cricket – you have to learn each time you play.
“So we should have learned from the first game and used that in the second, but we didn’t do anything differently.
“Obviously everyone was hugely disappointed; it was a big thing for us with the game being on television as well.
“But we’re looking to move forward rather than looking back, and taking each of the next few games as a new one – these series are all about learning.”
A prolific sportsman, Jacks played county hockey for three years for Surrey – as well as rugby, tennis, and football at club level.
Via Valley End and the Chobham cricket clubs, he now finds himself at Surrey Premier Division outfit Guildford, and has been a fixture in his county’s second XI t20 line-up this term.
But is with the red ball that Jacks feels most confident at the moment – a fact backed up by his century in the second Test against India a fortnight ago.
He said: “My style probably suits white-ball cricket more, but I probably just haven’t quite worked out the tempo of how to bat yet.
“I need to learn to properly build an innings in one-day cricket, whereas in the Youth Tests I found it easier to gauge the tempo.
“That’s what the team has really struggled with in the last couple of games and where we all need to improve.
“I feel like I’m maturing all the time and taking things a bit slower – not that long ago I just tried to hit everything for four.
“I’m learning more about the game and how to build an innings, from [Academy Director] Gareth Townsend and Vikram Solanki in the second team at Surrey in particular.
“I get a bit of access to the first-team coaches, but Vikram helps with the mental side of the game. He likes to keep things simple, but when you do ask for advice he’s very clear.”
Jacks is also relishing his role as one of the leaders in this young squad – skippering the side in the absence of Yorkshire’s Harry Brook in the first one-dayer.
He relinquished the reins for Tuesday’s defeat with Brook returning from county duty, and despite a chastening defeat under his watch, Jacks is hoping he’ll get the chance to lead the side again with the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand on the horizon next year.
“It’s something I’ve been doing the last few years for Surrey and it’s great to feel like the hopes of the team are resting on you,” he added.
“Obviously it was disappointing to only get to do it for one game, but it was right that Harry took back the captaincy on his return – I’ll always enjoy playing for England either way.
“I’ve captained Surrey through the academy and then for the under-17s as well, so I have experience.
“I think I could possibly carry on doing it in future – it’s something I really enjoy doing – but it all depends on the situation and what team you’re playing for.”