‘Pretty scary’: Tom Banton opens up about playing IPL for England at 20-21 – FirstCricket News, FirstPost

The rise of T20 cricket has played a major role in the introduction of several franchise league tournaments around the world and has helped young players showcase their talent in front of a larger audience. One such player is Tom Banton, who grabbed the limelight after his batting exploits in England’s T20 Blast in 2019. He was the second highest run scorer of the season with 549 runs in 13 matches for Somerset. In the same year, he scored 454 runs in 11 matches in the Royal One Day Cup.

His sensational form with Somerset helped him secure a contract for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League 9 where he scored 223 runs at an impressive strike rate of 176.98 with a half-century off 19 balls. He also made his international debut against New Zealand in 2019 and was considered the next big thing in English cricket. However, things did not turn out as expected for the youngster as he failed to make it into his team.

In a private conversation with Dr News18 CricketNext, Banton opened up about his comparisons to Jos Buttler and Kevin Pietersen in the early stages of his career which put some pressure on him. The 24-year-old made some honest admissions about how the sudden switch from Somerset’s second team to playing in England was scary for him.

“Yes, I think it has (whether the comparisons to Butler and Pietersen increase the pressure on him). Obviously, I won’t hide behind it. Obviously, going and playing in different leagues around the world like the IPL, playing for England at the age of 20-21 obviously against all kinds of big international teams was quite intimidating. I went from playing second team cricket Somerset to playing all these things within the year,” Banton said News18 CricketNext.

Batter, the young wicket-keeper, says the tough times have helped him grow as a cricketer.

“It was obviously a big step and I learned a lot about myself in that time and hopefully the last two years where I wasn’t as consistent as I wanted to be I left and now I can and really look forward, and really think about that time. No. Well, I’m glad it happened because I obviously learned a lot about my game and how I want to be as a person as well as a cricketer,” he added.

Banton was in contention for a place in England’s 2022 T20 World Cup squad but a finger injury pushed him down the pecking order as he eventually dropped a place.

Speaking about that difficult phase, Banton said it was upsetting to miss out but was not worried as he was focused on making runs to regain his place in the England team.

“I think it’s part and parcel of the game, to be honest. I haven’t had too many injuries, touch wood so that’s probably my main one and yes, obviously it’s annoying, I’m desperate to play, but I’m not too worried about it. Things in England take care of themselves I think if you do well and play the way you want to play, then, if you put in the performances, those things will sort themselves out. I don’t really want to think about this stuff right now. So just try and focus on where I am at the moment,” he said.

After winning the 2022 T20 World Cup, England will now turn their attention to the ODI World Cup in India later this year.

Banton, who is currently playing in the inaugural season of the ILT20, said he is not thinking too much about a return to the England team as his primary focus is to do well for the UAE’s Gulf giants.

“Look, I obviously don’t want to think too much about England’s aspirations. I think everyone’s goal is to play in it and hopefully, I can try and get back into that group, but at the moment I’m not even thinking about England. I’m just trying to focus here and now working really closely with Andy Flower, who is great and has got my game back to where I want it to be, where it was a few years ago,” he emphasised. .

Asked whether England’s ‘buzz-ball’ approach in Tests suited a player like him, Banton suggested that the red-ball format was a different challenge but playing with the right mindset was essential. Be helpful.

“I thought so, people would joke with me about it, but I didn’t think too much about it. I think firstly, obviously, the red ball cricket is going to be in April and I think, look, the wickets are probably a bit different for Test cricket, so it’s probably going to be a bit harder to do, but until you’ve had that kind of luck. In the right mindset, then I think for me it will definitely help. If I do well, I’m going to get it, I don’t even think about that kind of thing. I just try to really focus on the here and now,” he said.

Banton recently went unsold in the 2023 IPL auction in December but the Englishman admitted that he has been a bit inconsistent with the bat in recent times which was the reason behind that.

The 24-year-old said that he will be available if any franchise wants to sign him as a replacement player in case of any injury before or midway through the upcoming IPL.

“I probably didn’t do well enough to get into the IPL, so it’s not something that I’m upset or upset about. It’s just something I’ve just had to crack on with. See, I did it when I was 21 and it was amazing. And now I’m just trying to focus, be the best I can be and hopefully get back to performing,” he said

“Yes, definitely (on his availability as a substitute player in the IPL). I want to go back and do it. I haven’t done it in India and I’ve heard great things about all the travel and all the crowds and obviously etc. You know how it works. I did it in Dubai (UAE), so it was lockdown, it was a bubble, so it’s going to be completely different,” he added.

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