By his own admission, Duckett, now 28, was “probably not ready for international cricket” in 2016-17, when he made his Test and ODI debuts on England’s tours of Bangladesh and India. Yet seven years later, he is so relaxed with the experience that he was even able to prepare for last week’s return to the cue ball setup by spending a couple of days “on a sun lounger” in Dubai.
That brief spell of R&R came as the Test squad disbanded after their thrilling one-run loss to New Zealand in Wellington, which was also Duckett’s first defeat in five appearances since he was called up to tour Pakistan in December. . In that time he averaged an impressive 56.44 at the top of the order, and he was excited to carry that same mentality into this week’s first T20I against Bangladesh in Chattogram.
“It’s ridiculously different,” Duckett said of his experience setting up the test. “The way they make everyone feel is something I never thought would be the case in Test cricket. It’s almost like you’re playing a friendly, you’re actually going out and playing a Test match and it’s that relaxed, and that’s how you’re going to get players to perform at their best.
“The first thing Baz said to me in Pakistan was, ‘Just enjoy it, you’re going to have a good career.’ Hearing that as an opening batsman before your first Test back makes you not nervous and you can go out.” and he plays it your way instead of looking for sheet music.
“And I think the most important thing in that locker room is: whatever noise there is outside that locker room, nobody cares. It’s everything in that locker room and you almost have that backing, it feels like there’s a squad of players.” . now it looks like they will stick around for a while, especially while things are going well. Previously, you feared for every game, if you don’t get runs, you might get kicked out the next game.”
“The one thing I’ve been lucky with is because of the way I play it doesn’t really change across formats. You see these guys who hit the ball and then they have to go and play Test cricket and it’s a big difference, where my mentality in all three formats is see the ball, hit the ball. And now against the spin, sweeping both ways in all formats, and I have the full support of all the teams.
“I have matured as a cricketer,” he added. “It’s realizing what works for me, understanding what my strengths are. Seven years ago I could have tried to hit Shakib [Al Hasan] for six more long, now I know all I have to do is hit the ball in front of the square leg and it’s four runs. The little taste he had back then was very young and he probably wasn’t ready. I think that comes with age and most hitters are in their prime when they hit 28 or 29.”
Duckett is one of only four England players to have featured in all three formats this winter, and it’s been quite a trip around the world, taking in campaigns in Pakistan, South Africa, New Zealand and now Bangladesh, all the more reason. why he had no qualms about dropping it all for a week and lying low with his girlfriend in the United Arab Emirates between red and white campaigns, instead of worrying about the challenge of changing formats.
His long wait for a second chance with England was also a key factor in his decision to opt out of big money opportunities on the franchise circuit this winter, including the ongoing Pakistan Super League, prompting several players to from England, including Alex Hales, to withdraw his availability for the Bangladesh series.
“I spoke to someone a month ago about people resting and taking things off,” he said. “For me the focus is on the opportunity to play all three formats for England. And that will be my focus while I’m with the team.”
“Don’t get me wrong, if I have a month next winter and they offer me a lot of money, I’ll probably go and play, like most of us would. But you can play all these leagues around the world in a few years, right now I’m focused solely on playing as much as I can for England. That break I had was potentially a good thing for me, and now I’m so hungry to take every single chance I get.”