Will Jacks coming to terms with manic schedule as he makes his mark for England
Will Jacks accepts he will have to “get on board” with the schedule if he is to realise his ambition of playing for England in all formats after a manic past few days.
A week ago, Jacks was with the Test squad in New Zealand but because he was unrequired in Wellington, it was pre-agreed he would travel a little over 7,000 miles ahead of the ODI series in Bangladesh.
The 24-year-old arrived in Dhaka on Saturday evening but his luggage did not turn up until Tuesday morning, meaning he had to borrow Phil Salt’s gloves and one of Dawid Malan’s bats in training.
Wishing you all the best out there today, Jacksy 💪
Go and smash it! 🥰 pic.twitter.com/V1Epnq6YNT
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) March 1, 2023
Jacks knows that is the lot of an international cricketer although he was rewarded for his endeavour, making his ODI bow on Wednesday having already debuted for England in Tests and T20s this winter.
“This has been my busiest winter by a long shot, I think I’ve had six days at home since the start of November,” said Jacks, who has also had a stint in the SA20 between international commitments.
“That’s pretty ridiculous to me to be honest. It’s just the way the schedule is at the moment and that’s something as players that we have to get on board with if you want to play all three formats, which is obviously what I want to do.
“It’s been a complete whirlwind (in the last week) but I’m just grateful to be playing some cricket. I had three nights with no clothes and no bags, which made training quite hard.
“I wore the same underwear for two days. I had nothing else to do. I pretty much just sat on my bed in the same clothes for 48 hours, it was pretty boring and depressing.”
After being drafted into the ODI squad because of Tom Abell’s injury, Jacks has a small window to push his World Cup claims – his canny off-spin allied to his belligerent batting would be welcome in India.
However, England already have a couple of spin bowling all-rounders with more experience in those conditions in Moeen Ali and the sidelined Liam Livingstone, even if Jacks will break his duck in the Indian Premier League this spring after being signed up by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
“I want to do as well as I can and push for that World Cup squad,” Jacks said. “I think there’s only 15 guys who will be in that squad and competition is incredibly tight, we know that in English cricket.
“I’ve just got to do the best I can. Hopefully I’ll get two more opportunities in these two games, and if I get in a position where I’m able to impact the game, I’ve just got to do my best.”
Despite modest preparation, Jacks claimed one wicket on Wednesday while he added what turned out to be an important 26 off 31 balls in the context of a low-scoring thriller as England won by three wickets.
“I felt really comfortable,” he added. “I made my T20 debut with this group. I know everyone really well. It didn’t feel like anything different. I’ve completed the set now, which I’m very proud of.”
With only a day’s rest before they go again in the second ODI, England could shuffle their pace bowling line-up, with Saqib Mahmood poised for his first international match in a year after a back injury.
Left-armers Sam Curran and Reece Topley could also enter into the equation as England will be mindful of the workloads of Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer.
Rehan Ahmed has been unwell in recent days and while he is understood to be feeling better, the teenage all-rounder has trained just once since arriving in Bangladesh so may be overlooked.