Will Jacks is primed to be among England’s reserve options at the World Cup after advancing his claims for a spot in a shadow side’s win over Ireland in the second one-day international.
England going to India next week ahead of the defence of their 50-over crown, which starts in less than a fortnight, means a completely separate squad was chosen for the Metro Bank series against Ireland.
Jacks did not make the cut for the World Cup but, with England yet to announce who will be on standby to travel in case injury strikes, he boosted his chances with a dazzling 94 off 88 balls on Saturday.
Asked if he feels like he has given the selectors a nudge, the 24-year-old said after England’s 48-run win at Trent Bridge: “I don’t know – that’s up to them, I’ve just got to do what I can on the pitch.
“This was a good start. It’s my first ODI game of the summer, since Bangladesh (in March), and I’m happy with how I’ve started.
“Hopefully I’ll have another opportunity (in the third and final ODI) on Tuesday and put in another good show.
“But the World Cup squad has been selected, I’m hoping to score runs in the meantime and if anything comes up then I’ll be ready.”
A changing of the guard is expected at the end of the World Cup as a number of first-choice, established players are expected to retire from the 50-over format and usher in the next generation.
Jacks gave a demonstration of what England fans could expect in the next few years as he opened for the first time in ODIs, finding some fluency with some crisp drives and punishing anything short.
He thumped four sixes but seeking his fifth to bring up a maiden international ton, Jacks instead top-edged George Dockrell to Andy Balbirnie, who settled under a skier a few feet in from the boundary.
Jacks, though, was unrepentant and signalled his unwavering commitment to the approach to batting that has served England so well in recent years.
He said: “I would have been more frustrated if I’d have tapped it around, got to 99 and then nicked off, that would have really p****d me off. I’m really happy with how I went about it.
“You’ve got to keep pushing forward – the state of the game, you can’t just knock it around and think about yourself.
“Obviously I’m going to think about those six runs and so will some other people watching but the 94 is what counts and the team win is what matters most at the end of the day.”
Sam Hain took top billing among England’s four debutants with 89 from 82 balls to lift England to 334 for eight but George Scrimshaw had mixed fortunes on his international bow as Ireland subsided to 286, with teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed the pick of the attack with four for 54 in a classy 10 overs.
Scrimshaw bowled four no-balls in his first over and two in his second, plus a wide, as he leaked 35 in 11 legal deliveries but the seamer showed plenty of character to finish with figures of 8.4-0-66-3.
Jacks said: “Everyone could see he was pretty down about it. I bowled two no-balls myself. It’s a pretty bad feeling. Especially when you’re on debut, the adrenaline, the emotion.
“Everyone’s felt it in some way, just for him to be on TV, a global stage, it was a horrible feeling. He came back really well, got three wickets and bowled nicely, which he deserved.”
England had a combined 38 ODI appearances ahead of this fixture – compared to Ireland’s 720 – but they may find themselves flung together more often so this was a promising glimpse into a potential future.
After England moved 1-0 up in a three-match series that will conclude in Bristol, Jacks added: “We’ve just come together but we’ve all played together a lot and against each other numerous times, we know how each other plays, we know each other as people so it’s almost like you gel straightaway.
“We’re just guys who are really relishing playing for England and getting these opportunities while the World Cup squad is away. We’re just loving it.”
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