A big winter lies ahead for Worcestershire CCC batsman Jack Haynes with an ICC Under-19 World Cup on the horizon in the New Year.
Haynes will be looking to cement his spot in that squad during the forthcoming Tri-Series against the West Indies and Sri Lanka in the Caribbean.
It follows on from him making his first class debut at Blackfinch New Road against Australia and then playing in the final four Specsavers County Championship matches of the summer.
Jack showed glimpses of his potential but is determined to learn to put more substantial scores on the board and try and cement his spot in the Worcestershire side.
Here he looks back at last summer, the forthcoming England Under-19 challenges, what he is looking to work on this winter and his aspirations for 2020 in a Question and Answer session with the Worcestershire CCC website.
Question: Looking back at last season, you played five first class matches. Would you have taken that at the start of the season?
Jack Haynes: “Definitely. It was always my ambition from the start to break into that first team squad and play a game last year and obviously playing five was very nice.
“I was disappointed not to contribute slightly more. I felt I was comfortable but didn’t quite kick on and get the big scores, the big contributions I wanted, but I suppose it happens. It’s not always going to be an easy run into things.
“But no, I was delighted to play.”
Question: It was nice that the coaches showed faith and gave you a good block of games?
Jack Haynes: “Exactly. It wasn’t ‘one game and you are out.’ They backed me and it gives you a lot more confidence.
“I’ve always set myself high standards, sometimes to my detriment, in putting too much pressure on myself. But I’ve always set myself high standards because I feel like you’ve always got something to work towards.
“Never being satisfied is always the way I am but I think it’s probably a good thing for me and helps me work harder.”
Question: You had an interesting debut versus Australia, dropped first ball and then produced some fine cover drives off Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood?
Jack Haynes: “It was interesting! There were quite a few people in (the ground) and the atmosphere was good. I remember them declaring. It was a shock declaration and none of us really expected it.
“All of a sudden we were 0-2 and I was in, walking down the steps for my first class debut against Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood. It was all a bit of a blur really.
“I remember I walked into the dressing room bathroom, just looked into the mirror and couldn’t remember why I had walked into the bathroom but then I managed to get myself together.
“As soon as I managed to get through the first ball, which could have gone very differently, I was sort of settled, still nervous but settled, and I managed to get a few decent shots away.”
Question: Did you get any ‘verbals’ from the Australians out in the middle?
Jack Haynes: “Not really. Just a couple of smiles after I nicked off first ball and got dropped. They seemed a nice bunch.
“I got into a bit of a rhythm and just thought probably the way to play was to try and score and play naturally. It worked for a bit but unfortunately I didn’t quite get through to the close but it was good.”
Question: You went to Northampton for your Championship debut and the first ball from Brett Hutton was an absolute peach of a delivery to dismiss you?
Jack Haynes: “I was opening, we were batting first and I had to be on the mark and usually if I get through the first ball, I feel pretty comfortable.
“But then I got that delivery. First I was pretty disappointed and down but then put it into perspective and that delivery would probably get me out 10 times out of 10.
“I did have a look at it straight away but I tried to put it behind me.”
Question: You did get a few ‘starts’ and got yourself in a few times without going onto make a substantial score?
Jack Haynes: “That was the disappointing thing because I felt I could go on and get some runs. It wasn’t like I was struggling to get a start.
“I had a 20 against Gloucestershire, a 30 against Glamorgan, a few innings in the teens. It is about nailing it down and getting through that period and that is definitely something I’m going to work on this winter as much as I can and hopefully take into next season.
“When you get to 30, feel comfortable, you’ve got to go on and cash in because you will get deliveries like the one against Northants, that will probably be too good for me.
“That happens to everyone so getting in, and making the most of it, is important.”
Question: I remember Daryl Mitchell saying that getting out for 80 at The Oval against Surrey was the most frustrating thing for him last season (2018)?
Jack Haynes: “I batted with Mitch in that Glamorgan game and we put a few runs on the night before and then came back out.
“I got out and I watched the way Mitch carried on, got past 30-40 – and went onto make a big score.”
Question: What is the biggest difference between second team and first eleven cricket?
Jack Haynes: “I just think the constant testing of areas by opposition bowlers, in and around the off stump, challenging you on that length and it’s a little bit quicker and there is a little bit more ‘chirp.’
“But it’s more for me the areas that they bowl at you, few bad balls, and if you do miss out on one, you feel ‘that was my one.’
“Also the way the bowlers look to set you up is quite different as well. They are very knowledgeable and quite experienced compared to some of the lads in the second team.
“With the fielding, I feel you’ve got to be a lot more switched on and more focused. It’s not that I’m not focused in the Seconds but literally everything could be coming at you, and quite quickly as well.
“It’s a good challenge. I enjoy it because you are always in the game which is good.”
Question: You were also around with the squad on Vitality Blast finals day at Edgbaston?
Jack Haynes: “That was brilliant. That semi-final was probably one of the best games I’ve watched, winning off the last ball.
“The same happened the other way around to us in the final. It’s a shame because we got so close but it was a brilliant experience and it was priceless really, being involved in that dressing room, seeing what happens and having aspirations to go there and play myself in the years to come.”
Question: Presumably next year you want to try and build on this summer’s breakthrough?
Jack Haynes: “Definitely. I want to solidify my place in the team and just keep contributing really.”
Question: But before then you’ve hopefully got the matter of an ICC Under-19 World Cup. Do you sense you’ve still got to prove yourself to seal a World Cup spot?
Jack Haynes: “I think all of us do really. There are 16 going to Antigua and 15 are chosen for South Africa. That is at the back of most people’s minds.
“But, even if you make the 15 strong squad, you want to be actually playing. Personally I want to be playing in games, contributing. I want to be playing in crucial positions at crucial times in big matches.
“Everyone has got aspirations to be in that starting eleven.”
Question: You were the leading run-scorer for England in the Tri-Series with India and Bangladesh this summer?
Jack Haynes: “It was sort of another situation where I did fairly well and I got a score of 89 against India at Cheltenham, which I was pleased with, but I had other 30s and 40s which should have been turned into 80s and 90s which was frustrating.
“It was pretty similar to the end of season with Worcestershire where I made those starts and played the best I played in a while and wasn’t going on and making the big scores.
“It’s trying to work out why that is and putting it into practice and hopefully work on that and take it into Antigua and make it count.”
Question: We’ve had quite a few lads play in the recent Under-19 World Cups like Ed Barnard, Joe Clarke, Dillon Pennington and Adam Finch?
Jack Haynes: “I was 13-14 and watched Barny and Clarkey play. I didn’t really know them back then. I was in the county age groups.
“But I remember thinking it would be quite cool to play in one of those (World Cups) and Dillon and Finchy were then part of it last time. Now I’m on the doorstep and hope I can also get selected. I’m very excited.
“It’s good because we all get on pretty well and we’ve all grown up together in the Academy for the past three or four years.
“It’s good we’ve been given chances at Worcestershire and been part of the Under-19 set-up, especially with Finch last year.”
Question: You are still only 18 and have come a long way already?
Jack Haynes: “I think so. It’s just getting to that stage where I want to be that much better and I want to be doing ‘this, this and this.’
“I think it is an exciting winter and one I’m focused on really improving and really pushing for a place at the start of next year in the red ball and white ball team.”