Jacob Bethell will return to Durham not only in destructive form but with the fondest of memories.
The 19-year-old, who struck just 32 off the 13 balls against Worcestershire last Friday, returns to the North East for a third time in T20 cricklet having made his professional debut in June 2021 – or 730 days to be exact.
And whilst he labels Edgbaston ‘his favourite ground’, the emotions he feels when he arrives at the Seat Unique Riverside give him plenty of confidence.
“I faced Ben Stokes for my first ball in professional cricket which is pretty cool,” said Bethell when asked to recollect that day. “I found out in the changing rooms before the game that I was playing. I had an inkling, but it wasn’t until two hours before the start of play that I knew. There were certainly a few nerves knocking around.
“It’s a nice place to come to and you’ll always remember those moments. It’ll always be a special place. Hopefully, those feelings can help me put in another strong performance on Tuesday.”
It’s been a tough season so far for the 19-year-old, but things are certainly looking brighter.
Having received news that he’s got a stress fracture in his back, Bethell has managed the injury to allow him to bat confidently and field at 100%.
That, plus the opportunity in the starting XI, has given the left-hander plenty of optimism. Friday’s match-aiding innings doesn’t harm too…
“When I made my debut I was playing in a different capacity,” added Bethell. “I was used as a left-arm spinner, batting at ten, but now I’m playing a different role this year.
“Friday was the first time I’ve made an impact towards winning a T20 game for the Bears and it was nice to get that one under my belt. I’m hoping that spurs me on a few more times this season.
“It was certainly a great feeling to hit three of my first four balls for four. It removes the nerves and helps you get a bit of rhythm. It was just one of those days where it just came off and everything I tried worked.
“Going forward all I can do is carry on from what I did the other day. There’s an opportunity there for me to grab and when Sam Hain comes back I’ve got to have made sure that I’ve done enough to retain my place.”
£15 tickets for home quarter-final
Bears have secured a home Vitality Blast quarter-final which will be on Thursday 6 July, with adult tickets only £15.
Tickets ware available online at tickets.edgbaston.com or on the day via the Ticket Office. Members and Season Pass holders can attend for free by scanning their card at the gate.