Bald truth as George skippers England

HYDE cricketer George Balderson’s path to the top has continued after he was named captain of England’s Under-19 side.

The teenager topped coach Jon Lewis’ list of candidates for the tri-nations series against India and Bangladesh.

An impressive winter tour to Bangladesh saw George get the nod for the series, which saw England play both sides four times before a final in Hove, East Sussex on Sunday, August 11.

Balderson joined the Lancashire senior set up this summer and is has appeared for the red rose county’s second XI.

However as a Hyde CC spokesman put it, the talented batsman has some competition close to home.

They said: “The Balderson family will be putting in even more miles travelling around the counties supporting George and his siblings.

“Older brother Tom recently played in his second Varsity match for Cambridge while younger brother Ben, also at Hyde, is involved in age group cricket for Cheshire.

“Of course, dad Phil still believes he’s the best cricketer in the family!”

George, who has already scored more than 500 runs for Hyde this season, had an up and down series after being bowled out for just eight runs against India as England slumped to a five wicket defeat in their opening game.

With the ball, he then only went through one over conceding seven runs.

George was then left out of the side for the first game against Bangladesh but made 18 against them on August 1, 11 against India on August 3 and 56 against Bangladesh on August 5 in a tied game.

However his selection for the squad puts him in line for the tour to the West Indies and the ICC U19 World Cup in South Africa early next year.

England U19s head coach Jon Lewis said: “We were expecting a big test against India and Bangladesh this summer – two countries who are very strong at this level of cricket.

“We enjoyed a brilliant learning experience on tour to Bangladesh in the New Year, where our players were tested in some unfamiliar conditions.

“These fixtures are excellent for developing a player’s skills, experience and character – some of the best young cricketers from the three countries were battling against each other and these ‘best versus best’ experiences are what we feel give the players the greatest opportunity for learning whilst on the international pathway.

“I want to be really clear about who our best 16 or 17 players are going forward to the winter. I don’t want to be going into the West Indies tour before Christmas still trying to find out about players.

“When we take the field we’re always trying to win games of cricket and that’s why we’ve made it a tri-series – the value of competition over a tri-series in a tournament format adds some pressure.

“I used our full squad across the games to try and work out where each player is at moving forward.”

Lewis also believes George finishing his A-Levels will prove a boost, as it will with the rest of his England team-mates.

He added: “They’ve gone from being schoolboys to professional cricketers.

“We’re right at the start of that transition but already you can see they’re a lot more relaxed and less worried by their schooling and examinations.

“It’s a big deal for young people and we facilitate their schoolwork as part of our programme and we’re in communication with their schools to make sure they keep up-to-date with their work.

“It’s something they’re all very keen to make sure they do well in.

“Now they can relax and fully focus on cricket for probably the first time in their lives and I think that will help us develop them quicker.”

Balderson could not help Hyde to the Cheshire Cricket League Vitality Club T20 final after going down to Chester Boughton Hall in the semi-finals, which they hosted.

But a Hyde CC spokesman said: “It was brilliant from the first ball at 10.30am right to the last at about 8.10pm.”

And the club hosted a summer coaching course between July 29 and August 1, with head coach James Duffy helping take the sessions.

In the Cheshire Cricket League ECB Premier League, Hyde are currently mid-table.

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