Green off to Australia to hone game in Grade cricket

Ben Green hits out
Ben Green hits out

By RICHARD WALSH

BEN Green has just flown out to Western Australia to play Grade cricket for Perth-based club Gosnells, where he spent last winter.

Green, dual registered with Devon and Somerset, made his First Class debut for the Cidermen in 2018 in the tied game against Lancashire. He was regular in Devon's one-day side and played T20 cricket too for his home county.

Before flying out to Australia, the former England U19 all-rounder reflected on his 2018 season.

 “I think interesting is the right word to describe my season, during which there have been a few ups and downs, but also some highlights, including my List A and Championship debuts,” said Green, who went through Somerset’s academy before joining the full-time staff.

“To make my debut in these two competitions has been massive to me and something that I have been looking forward to for the last couple of years, so it feels good to have that under my belt now.”

Ben GreenGreen made his red-ball debut against Lancashire when he opened the innings. 

“If you had told me last year that I would be opening the batting with Marcus Trescothick for my Championship debut I would have laughed at you, but that’s what happened,” he said.

“It’s been almost a transition year, during which I have tried to become an opening batsman. At the start of the year I wasn’t sure about it but now I have done it and have really enjoyed opening the batting.

“It’s a great challenge to face the new ball, and if you get good at it then you are very valuable to the team so this is certainly something that I want to work on for sure.

“My debut was a bit of a baptism of fire really. Although that wasn’t the type of wicket that I would have chosen for my first red-ball appearance, but what a great game it was. A tie in my first ever game- I don’t think that there will be too many others who can say that, so I wont forget that in a hurry.”

In the second innings Green, who averaged more than a hundred playing Devon League cricket for Exeter last season, was at the crease for almost an hour for his 16 runs off 39 balls before he was sixth man out with the score on 37 at the end of the 13th over.

“I would have liked to have stuck around for a bit longer. It was certainly an interesting experience and I learned a lot from that,” he said.

“I had scored a few runs at the top of the order in the 2nd XI although I would have liked to have made a couple more centuries, so I have done all right really.

“It is still early days for me as an opening batsman. I have got a lot to learn so I am working hard on how to get better everyday.”

How had it felt as a young batsman stepping out into a hostile environment?

“It is certainly very different to opening in the 2nd XI which can be a bit docile at times, especially against Lancashire who are renowned for having a few things to say about opposing batsmen,” said Green.

“Playing out in Australia last winter they certainly got in my ear a bit, which was good experience for me so what happened out there the first time didn’t faze me too much.

“Every bowler for Lancashire apart from Tom Bailey had played international cricket, so it was a massive step up for me. But those times in the middle against top quality bowlers are invaluable, and I enjoyed it.

“Everyone at this level has got a pretty sound technique, so nowadays it’s much more about how mentally prepared you are and your game plan

“Having had the experience of being a bowler, I try to think how they would try to get me out and try as best as I can to counteract that, especially with the new ball, because the advantages are in the bowler’s court.”

How did it feel to be opening the batting with Marcus Trescothick?

“Unfortunately we haven’t had a big partnership yet, but it’s great and a really comforting feeling walking out there with someone who is as experienced as Marcus is,” said Green.

‘It felt like a weight off my shoulders to have him at the other end and if I had any issues I know I could talk with him – and he makes me feel relaxed because the aura he has about him.”

In the light of opening the batting for Somerset, how does Green think of himself as a cricketer now?

“It seems to change every year, but I am really enjoying opening the batting so I am looking to keep working on that aspect of my game and hopefully that is something that I can do for a long time in the future,” he said.

“However, I certainly won’t lose sight of my bowling because I want to be a really good option with the ball. If all that goes to plan, I would be a very valuable asset to the team.”

Green spent five months with Gosnells last winter, playing 23 games in all competitions. He scored more than 600 runs, which included a top score of 142 against Midland-Guildford.

Regarding his return to Gosnells again, Green said:  “I felt that last winter was a real learning curve for me and helped me to develop my game quite a lot so I am hoping that this year it will have the same impact and I will continue to get better.

“I was also with the most amazing host family, who I am returning to, and the club was so welcoming that I settled in very easily and loved it. The host family were lovely people so it feels almost like a second home now. “

Having experienced first-team cricket, looking to the future what does Green want?

“What I have experienced this year makes me hungry to want to play some more games, and I am really looking forward to hopefully playing more games next season, getting a few more runs and taking a few more wickets,” he said.

Having had the taste of it really makes you hungry and makes you even more driven to play at that level.”