CRICKET: Miles on a mission with England Under 19s

Miles Hammond in action for Oxfordshire Under 17s

Miles Hammond in action for Oxfordshire Under 17s

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter specialising in horse racing. Call me on 01865 425453

TALENTED young Oxfordshire cricketer Miles Hammond has set his sights on helping England Under 19s claim victory in South Africa this winter.

Hammond, who only turned 17 earlier this month, is in a 15-man squad, who open with a two-day warm-up game at Bellville CC, Cape Town.

They then play two four-day Tests at Newlands, Cape Town, and Boland Park, Paarl followed by five one-day internationals.

Speaking as he travelled for the flight from Heathrow, the Oxford teenager, who has graduated from the ECB’s Under 17s England Development Programme, said: “Hopefully we can win, but we’ll try and do as well as we can.

“I have heard they have quite a few players with senior experience in the under 19s. They should be quite strong and their keeper has played Twenty20 for South Africa’s full team.”

Hammond, an off-spinner and middle-order batsman, said he was almost lost for words when David Graveney, England’s national performance manager, called him.

“I was quite excited and a bit speechless as well. I got off the phone and didn’t really say much.” But Hammond, who has represented Oxfordshire’s youth teams since the age of nine, is no stranger to playing overseas.

He went to India last year with the Gloucestershire Academy, with whom he has been involved since he was 14, and also toured South Africa with St Edward’s School, Oxford, at Easter.

“I think my bowling is a bit stronger at the moment, but my batting was coming along quite a lot by the end of last year,” he said.

Leicestershire’s Shiv Thakor will captain the side, which is led by coaches Tim Boon and Richard Dawson. The tour marks the start of England’s preparations for the Under 19 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates in February 2014.

And looking ahead, Hammond, who played for Cumnor last season, is keen to not just make that side, but also the full national team.

“Obviously, I want to play for the England senior team, and play for a long time and earn money from it,” he added.

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