When the ECB announced a 55-man squad of First-Class cricketers that they wanted to return to training – under strict conditions – in order that the game could be ready to resume international matches as the Corona Virus lockdown eased, Ben Duckett was only Nottinghamshire batsman to be included.
Whilst some of his Trent Bridge team-mates might have been disappointed to miss out, for middle-order left-hander Duckett, this was a positive sign that he was back in contention for a pace in future England squads. He had played four Test matches – against Bangladesh and India – and three One-Day Internationals in 2016; without making an unshakeable case for inclusion, his scores were such that he was selected for the England party on the 2017/18 Ashes tour of Australia. However, his alleged involvement in some off-field incidents lead to him being left out of the squad and from subsequent England Lions fixtures.
Duckett had a route back into international cricket when selected for a one-off T20I against Pakistan in 2019; he was part of the winning team but contributed only nine runs. His recall in 2020 was, therefore, a welcome indication that he is still in the selectors’ minds. If he could re-capture the form of his early career then both Notts and England should benefit greatly.
Benjamin Matthew Duckett was born in Farnborough, Kent, on 17 October 1994 and was in the Northamptonshire Cricket Academy from 2009 – indeed, he made his county debut whilst still studying for A Levels at Stowe School in a T20 fixture against Gloucestershire in 2012. By 2015 he was in the Northants first team and beginning to attract attention with some impressive scores; he scored four centuries in the County Championship and, just, reached 1000 runs in the season, at an average of 52.73.
He began the 2016 season with a new highest score of 282 not out against Sussex, adding three other First-Class hundreds during the campaign, with a total of 1338 runs at 58.17. Duckett collected his first trophy, winning the Twenty20 Blast with Northants. He finished on the winning side in the final, and had particular success in the semi-final, scoring 84 off just 47 balls, and sharing a 132 run partnership with Alex Wakely.
At the end of that season, he was named as young cricketer of the year by the Cricket Writers' Club and the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA). He was also named PCA Player of the Year, the first player to win both PCA awards in the same season; he had scored 2,706 in all formats – the most runs anyone had scored in an English season since Marcus Trescothick in 2009
He moved to Nottinghamshire late in the 2018 season when his county form had dipped and he was averaging around 25. In March 2019, he gave notice of his abilities, scoring a double century for Nottinghamshire against Cambridge MCCU; made from 168 balls, it was the fastest First-Class double century by a Nottinghamshire batsman in terms of balls faced.
Duckett can act as a reserve wicket keeper and has done so for The Outlaws in limited-overs games.
Ben Duckett was one of the stars of The Outlaws's win in the 2020 Vitality T20 Blast, anchoring the run chase in the final with an invaluable half-century. He was named Nottinghamshire CCC's Player of the Year for the 2020 season and signed an extension to his contract that will keep him at Trent Bridge until 2023.
Nottinghamshire First-Class Number: 650