HARRISON Ward sees his selection for England Under 19s as a stepping-stone to fulfilling his ambition to become a Test cricketer.

The left-hander, who attends St Edward’s School, is in his country’s squad for two ‘youth Tests’ against South Africa next month.

After hearing the news, the 18-year-old, who is a member of Sussex Academy, said: “I’m really pleased.

“From the moment my dad introduced me to the game, I’ve had this ambition to have a first-class career and play Test cricket.

“This is a step towards that and it’s nice to be recognised.”

Ward marked himself out as a special talent when he scored a century for Oxfordshire on his Unicorns Counties Championship debut in 2015, aged just 15 and 269 days.

He represented Abingdon Vale and Horspath, but now plays his club cricket for Preston Nomads in the Sussex Premier League.

He featured for England Under 19s in a two-day invitational game against India last year, but this is his first Test call-up.

The youngster made his debut for Sussex 2nd XI this season against Surrey, where he faced the giant South African Test star Morne Morkel.

“I’m 6ft 2ins, but I found him quite a challenge,” he said.

“I knew he was quick, but the bounce he got was amazing.”

However, most of his cricket this summer has been at St Edward’s, where he has captained their 1st XI.

Under the guidance of David Simkins a successful season has seen Ward score three centuries as well as taking seven wickets in one match with his off-spin.

And that return is down in no small part to his head coach.

“David has not only improved me as a player, but particularly concentrated on the mental side of the game, which has helped a lot,” Ward said.

Having just finished his A-Levels, Ward has been guaranteed a place at Cardiff MCC University, because of his cricketing ability.

But he is not certain to take up that offer, with the future likely to be shaped by what happens in the next couple of months.

After a warm-up match against the Unicorns at Loughborough on July 3-4, England Under 19s will play their two Tests against the Springboks at Scarborough from July 8-11 and at then the Emirates Riverside from July 16-19.

“(My future) depends on what happens with Sussex and whether I can get a full-time contact,” he said.