Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Barny Says Ton-Up Westbury Will Reap Benefits Of England Under-19 Experience

Ed Barnard says his Worcestershire team-mate Ollie Westbury will reap the benefits of his record-breaking debut for England Under-19s against Sri Lanka Under-19s in this week's first 'Test' at Fenners.

Westbury scored a magnificent 196 spanning nearly eight hours – the highest score by a Worcestershire player at Under-19 level and beating the 155 by Kadeer Ali versus the West Indies at Trent Bridge in 2001.

He was also the first player from the County to register a Under-19 hundred since Barnard himself achieved the feat in Cape Town in 2013 when scoring 114.

Barnard has since gone onto establish himself as a first teamer at New Road and "sees no reason" why his close friend Westbury cannot eventually follow in his footsteps.

He said: "Ollie has worked really hard the past couple of years at his game. I've played with him for a few years now, both at school and at Shrewsbury Cricket Club and he has always scored runs.

"He is a player who just loves batting. He just wants to spend time at the crease and maybe in young players, you don't get that as much anymore.

"Lots of kids want to play T20 cricket but Ollie is a proper old fashioned player who leaves the ball well and just wants to bat as long as he can.

"I've seen his confidence grow the last couple of seasons. He's scored a few hundreds for the Seconds now.

"That would have given him some confidence but to go and do it for your country, and get that recognition, would have given him that platform to go on even further from that."

Barnard recalls the signficance of his own maiden Under-19s century.

He said: "It was a big deal. It just puts you out there a bit more. There is a lot more hype around it compared to Seconds cricket.

"If you can do well on that stage, it is good for you and gives you confidence to go back (to your county) and keep scoring runs.

"If you feel you can do the business against players of your own age and level at international level, you can kick on and there is no reason why you can't go onto first class cricket and do well. It does give you belief.

"Is Westbury capable of making next step up? I think so. From what I've seen, and from what a lot of people have seen this season, he has scored runs wherever he has played his cricket so I see no reason why he can't."

Barnard, part of the Under-19s side that reached the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup along with county team-mate Joe Clarke, believes playing Under-19 cricket is important to a players development.

He said: "It can be important, the chance to get to play in different conditions against different players from around the world.

"You probably don't get that chance to play at county level. It gives you that extra experience.

"But I also do think it's not something that is pivotal. There are a lot of players who have gone and made it who haven't played for the Under-19s. But it is a great benefit if you can do that."