Leg-spinner Ben White is looking forward to his first tour with the Ireland Wolves cricket team, and sees his selection as vindication for his hard work over recent years.
The tour is scheduled from February 17 to March 19 and will see the Wolves play a multi-format eight-match series against Bangladesh A.
Speaking from home earlier this week, the 22-year old said he was “over the moon” to get the call-up, returning to a Bangladesh where he previously played as part of the Under-19 international setpu.
“I made a few goals at the start of last year to try and get back into contention of higher honours,” he said of his selection. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work over the 12 months or so with Stephen Moreton my coach in Phoenix CC to try and make that happen, and it’s just very nice feeling that it’s paid off up until this point.”
“I feel like I had a pretty good season in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. We were obviously very lucky to be able to get out a play any cricket at all under the circumstances, but I feel the hard work put in before and throughout the season really paid off, and it’s really nice to be back enjoying the game again.”
Dublin-born White has been a cricketer from a very early age, but legspin came along after being spotted messing around in the nets.
“I’ve played cricket ever since I can remember. It started when my Dad insisted on bringing me down to the Phoenix Park to try it out, as he would’ve played it a lot when he was younger back in New Zealand.
“And I really just took too it like a fish to water. I’ve played my whole career in Phoenix CC, who have been so great in my development and I can’t thank them enough!
“Growing up I played every sport under the sun – cricket, rugby, football, GAA, hurling to name a few. But cricket was my number one focus.
“I used to bowl seam, as everyone seems to when they start out – and I actually opened the bowling for Leinster Under-11s way back when under the great guidance of Brían O’Rourke.
“But I stopped at Under-13s when Mike Halliday saw me messing around in the nets bowling leggies in a game of stumpy and demanded I give up the seam and start bowling them from then on. So I guess I have Mike Halliday to thank for spotting them and Matt Lunson for working on them with me.”
Despite a long-term connection to Phoenix Cricket Club, late 2020 saw White move to CSNI in Belfast to push his chances of progression with a place in the Northern Knights interprovincial setup.
For now, he is keen to stake his claim for elevation in Bangladesh following previous visits for the 2016 Under-19 World Cup.
“I’m expecting it to be very hot and humid, and hopefully it should be very spin friendly. I feel I’m bowling quite well at the moment and feel pretty confident in my ability, so I’m just really looking forward to getting over there to play some hard cricket as is possible under the current circumstances of COVID.
“We are so lucky to get the chance to go to a country like Bangladesh to be doing something we love, so I’m just relishing the opportunity.”
“I’ll be bringing a book or two with me, as well as the Xbox to keep myself occupied,” he adds with the side set for a lengthy spell in a ‘bio-bubble’.
“I’m just really looking forward to being able to learn from the likes of Graham Ford and Stuart Barnes as it’s such a great opportunity for myself to better myself as a cricketer.”
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