ROMAN WALKER has arrived in South Africa looking to continue his rise to prominence with inclusion in England Young Lions’ Under-19s World Cup squad.
The 17-year-old Glamorgan ace, who hails from Wrexham, was handed a first call up to the Young Lions squad in October for the forthcoming tri-series with hosts South Africa and Namibia.
After finishing the tri-series early next month the Young Lions will be back in action at the U-19s World Cup, which starts on January 15 in New Zealand.
Walker’s inclusion in the tri-series squad gives him the perfect chance to press his claims for a place on the plane to New Zealand in the new year, although the all-rounder isn’t getting ahead of himself.
“I am over the moon to have been selected,” said Walker. “My mother (Michele) got a call from David Graveney and came running to hand the phone over to me and he told me the great news.
“We had a few days in Spain where got back to bowling full speed and hitting a few balls and then we travelled to South Africa to play the tri-series.
“If selected there is the World Cup in New Zealand early next year. But I'm not looking too far ahead at the moment.
“The thought of representing my country alongside some of the best under-19 players in England and Wales is just a dream come true.
“It's an unbelievable opportunity to be able to mix with such great players, and not to mention some great blokes to accompany that. I can learn from and mix with the best.”
Walker is among eight new faces in the Young Lions squad with Glamorgan team mate Prem Sisodiya also included on the trip.
The teenager made a couple of appearances for Glamorgan 2nds and helped lead Oswestry to the Birmingham and District Division Two title, which was enough to earn his place in the England set-up.
Injury disrupted his season to some extent, but Walker still finished with 23 wickets at an average of 19 and scored 505 runs at 42, which included an unbeaten 119, for Oswestry.
Even being injured provided Walker with a valuable lesson, the youngster saying: “Oswestry went completely to plan.
“It was such a great season with an amazing club, who looked after me extremely well and took me under their wing at the start of the season.
“There were some great individual and team performances from the lads resulting in us completing the year in poll position.
“Injury was a large part of my season, but in that aspect I still improved. I learned how to bounce back from not playing for months and being able to hit the ground running after a prolonged break.
“I also think I learned how important a good changing room environment is and how it effects how you play on the field.”
Injury did scupper his plans to play a regular part for Glamorgan’s second string, although he managed to make the odd fleeting appearance.
If Walker can produce the goods on a consistent basis then Glamorgan, under Robert Croft, have shown they give young Welsh talent, including David Lloyd, a chance to impress.
“I'm not looking too far ahead,” said a patient Walker. “Glamorgan first team would be an absolute privilege to play for, of course.”
And Walker is in the position to catch the eye with bat and ball. Being able to produce the goods in both facets of the game is something the youngster has been working on.
He explained: “I've worked on my batting a bit over the last 12 months or so and I really feel it coming along nicely, I think with a full winter of more hard work I could be on the brink of being a genuine bowling all-rounder.”
Young Lions: Ethan Bamber, Liam Banks, Tom Banton (wk), Harry Brook, Jack Davies (wk), Adam Finch, Luke Hollman, Will Jacks, Tom Lammonby, Felix Organ, Dillon Pennington, Savin Perera, Jack Plom, Hamidullah Qadri, Tom Scriven, Prem Sisodiya, Fin Trenouth, Roman Walker.