England rookie Ben Duckett insists he will happily bat anywhere should he be handed his maiden Test cap in the opening match of the red-ball series against Bangladesh in Chittagong on Thursday.
Duckett celebrated his 22nd birthday by scoring 60 yesterday – his fourth half-century in five innings – during England’s draw with a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI, their final warm-up match before the start of the Test series.
It was initially envisaged that Duckett would be competing with Lancashire’s Haseeb Hameed, who also passed 50 yesterday, to partner skipper Alastair Cook at the top of the order after regular opener Alex Hales opted against touring due to security concerns.
But another scenario is possible. Hameed could join Cook and Duckett bat at No4 in place of Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance, who was recalled to the Test side this summer after a year out of the reckoning having been dropped during last year’s Ashes series.
“All I can hope for is, if there is a spot, that I take that opportunity and try and score as many runs as I can for the team,” said Duckett.
“Playing for England is a dream for me and every other cricketer. Wherever I do slide in in that side, if I do get picked, then I’ll be happy wherever.
“These couple of days have helped me get used to the heat, the conditions, the way that they bowl, and I definitely feel ready.”
Northamptonshire’s Duckett retired at lunch having notched 60 and 19-year-old Hameed did likewise at tea after amassing 57 as England were dismissed for 256 in response to the 294 scored by the hosts on Sunday.
There was very little resistance in the middle order as Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler were dismissed for single-figure scores, while Joe Root and Ben Stokes struck 24 and 25 respectively.
Ballance, who scored one half-century from seven Test innings during the summer, finished unbeaten on 36 while batting at No7. All-rounders Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali were the only other players to reach double figures.