Rising cricket star Callum Jackson will hope to prove himself against one of the best teams in the world as Sussex welcome Australia this weekend in a three-day friendly days before the crucial third Ashes Test at Old Trafford.
The 18-year-old wicketkeeper from Eastbourne, made a strong debut for the squad last weekend in their Twenty20 defeat against Essex, making three stumpings during the visitors innings.
Regular wicket-keeper Ben Brown will miss the Australia match with injury,confirming Jackson’s place.
Speaking after the Essex match, he said, “I couldn’t believe the atmosphere, it was amazing. To have around 6,000 people cheering you on in your first game for Sussex was an unbelievable feeling. Although we lost the game against Essex I felt I put in a decent performance and I believe that I have a decent chance to get picked for the Australia friendly.
“With the inclusion of James Taylor to the squad, it just increases the desire to get picked as he has done so well for England and you can learn so much just from playing with guys like him.”
Also a member of the national under-19 squad himself, Jackson will be looking to emulate the heroics of England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, as Jackson and the team jet off to Dubai next year for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.
“Matt and the rest of the lads have been doing so well in the Ashes this year so you can only take inspiration from that. The series isn’t over yet but it is looking ominous for the Aussies, they really need to produce something special to win it from this stage.”
The former St Bede’s pupil started playing cricket at a young age, attempting a variety of different positions around the field before ultimately settling on plying his trade as a wicketkeeper.
“I tried loads of different positions when I first got in to cricket, but I found that I was always the most comfortable behind the stumps and that’s where I have been for ten years now.”
Jackson ascended quickly through the county youth system, playing at in every age group before joining Sussex’s 2nd XI. He then got his big opportunity in March, receiving his Sussex first team Junior Professional Contract after having impressed coaches Keith Greenfield & Andy Cornford.
“I owe lots to Keith and Andy at the academy and the EPP (Emerging Players Programme). But I also would like to thank the Sussex coach Carl Hopkinson for giving me the opportunity to take the step up from the second team.
“I have felt a massive improvement in my game in the past few months, especially in my batting. I just have to work on my runs and gain more first team experience at the highest level.”
With all these opportunities happening at such a young age, you wouldn’t blame Jackson for letting his mind wander on occasion, but he has his sights firmly set on his goals now more than ever.
“I know it’s something that is said alot but you really just need to have what you want to achieve in mind every day and just keep focused.
“As long as I keep progressing at the rate I have been then who knows what could happen, it could even be me behind the stumps at an Ashes test in Lords somepoint in the future.”