Warwickshire CCC Club Captain Will Rhodes admits he’s ‘not surprised’ to see Jacob Bethell light up the world stage.
Bethell got heads turning with a string of impressive performances with bat and ball during the U19 Cricket World Cup in the West Indies.
After opening with 44 against Bangladesh, the 18-year-old added scores of 68 and 88, with the latter coming in the quarter-final win against South Africa, where England was chasing 210.
That performance – which saw Bethell strike 16 fours and two sixes – put the opener in the headlines, but it was also his role with the ball and in the field as vice-captain that saw plenty of plaudits come his way.
“I’m not surprised one bit,” said Rhodes. “Anyone who watched him in the 50-over competition for us last year will know how good of a player he is with bat and ball.
“His innings at York was pretty frightening for a 17-year-old at the time and he’s just taken that into the World Cup with that quarter-final performance.
“He’s very highly thought of in that team as the captain goes to him when they need a wicket or advice and that’s great to see. He’s got a very good cricket brain on a young set of shoulders.
“He made his first-class debut at Headingley and he was very impressive. He didn’t bowl, but the way he conducted himself and the way he acted around a very senior group at the club was impressive. It’s no surprise that he’s got such a leadership role in that group. He’s an unbelievable talent and we’re all excited.”
Rhodes was speaking at Edgbaston after England’s pursuit for a second title ended in the final against India.
In an edgy affair, the Three Lions came close to defending 180 before India struck three boundaries in the 47th over.
It was a devastating end to an excellent campaign and, Rhodes – who has that tournament experience as captain – knows how much those players can learn from that experience.
“I loved it and it was a superb experience,” Rhodes added “It’s something that people don’t forget and it’s all about seizing the opportunity.
“Jacob will learn from the exposure of playing for your country and although it’s at a young age it’s still on the world stage with the whole world watching.
“The knock he played against South Africa will have raised eyebrows around the world and within the different teams. It’s only going to enhance his career quicker.
“We know what a special talent he is and even two or three years ago when no one outside of Edgbaston had heard of him there was a lot of excitement around the club. It’s nice to see him repaying the hard work that he and the staff have put in.”
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