Worcestershire CCC all-rounder Jacques Banton wants to follow in the footsteps of elder brother Tom and enjoy a successful cricketing career but knows he has still much to learn.
He had his first taste of senior cricket at New Road during the summer of 2021 when he played in three games in the Royal London Cup.
Jacques showed his potential when making useful runs and also picking up 3-15 against Sussex at New Road and relished his initial taste of first-team action.
Brother Tom has gone on to make six ODI and nine T20I appearances for England after a breakthrough year with Somerset in 2019 and has played in the Big Bash and IPL.
Jacques earned his first rookie contract last summer and constantly strives to improve his game, and his ambitions burn bright.
He said: “I know I’ve still got a lot to learn. I’m still young, trying to get better every day and having an opportunity in the Royal London Cup was a great experience.
“The first game, I was really nervous, I won’t lie. That is normal, isn’t it? I think everyone is going to be nervous in the first game.
“I gained a lot of confidence from the game against Sussex, getting 30 odd and a three-for.
“What was the biggest step up? The fielding standard. Everything really, but the fielding for me was the main thing. It is another level and you’ve got to match that otherwise you are going to stand out.”
He added: “Do I want to follow in Tom’s footsteps? Definitely. Obviously, I want to be doing what Tom is doing. I spoke to Tom about it when he first started coming through the ranks.
“He started in the Seconds and worked his way up to the Firsts (at Somerset), batted seven or eight, which is what I’m doing, and he was keeping and I’m bowling.
“He said: ‘just keep working hard, doing the right things and it will all come good for you’ and I feel good and I feel positive.
“I watched his England debut in New Zealand on TV but I went to the Big Bash and watched him which was a great experience. That one year he had was very special.”
Jacques says he is also driven on by comments from opponents that he is “in the shadow” of Tom.
He said: “It is not so much about the cricket but more to do with the fact that I’m ‘Tom’s little brother.’
“They are saying things like ‘you are in his shadow’ but it’s stuff I’ve heard for years so I am used to it now. It drives me on.”
Jacques, whose hero growing up was Kevin Pietersen, regards himself as a batsman who bowls part-time spin and he has been delighted to be reunited with Worcestershire Seconds Coach, Kadeer Aki.
He said: “Kadeer has helped me a lot. I was at Warwickshire with him since the Under-10s and I’ve worked with him all the way through and at Worcestershire.
“I’ve played a lot of Seconds games under him and I’ve learnt a lot.”
Jacques admits a spell of grade cricket in Australia was an invaluable part of his cricketing education.
He said: “When Tom was in the Big Bash, I went to Western Suburbs in Sydney and played for them. It was a good experience.
“They give you a bit of stick, it toughens you up, you are out of your comfort zone, you’ve got no friends there, you are going into a new team environment.”