Pakistan v England: Vince has what it takes to battle for leading role

England batsman James Vince. Picture: AP

England batsman James Vince. Picture: AP

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James Vince completed his passing-out for England at Sandhurst and has also made a fine start to his Twenty20 tour of duty in the desert.

Vince began his international career with two important innings from No 3 as Eoin Morgan’s tourists won back-to-back matches at the Dubai International Stadium to wrap up the series against Pakistan.

The 24-year-old Hampshire captain will remain, after today’s final match of England’s two-month stay in the United Arab Emirates, to captain the Lions against Pakistan A – having impressed as leadership material already in a pre-tour trip to the Royal Military Academy.

Vince appeared to have acquitted himself well at Sandhurst, and impressed too out in the middle in Dubai with innings of 41 and 38 as England took an unassailable 2-0 lead.

He admits, though, he found it a challenge on and off the field.

Recalling the leadership course, he said: “It was a bit uncomfortable at times, but I think everyone enjoyed it and got something out of it.

“I was up on the stage and got grilled about something I wasn’t really too sure about – so it was quite tough.”

The prospective Lions were put under pressure mentally and physically by their hosts.

“We had a few activities to do, a bit of problem-solving out in the woods – and had to rescue a hostage at one point.

“He was all right in the end.”

The England and Wales Cricket Board’s intention is to help develop young players’ lives as well as their sporting skills.

Back on the pitch, Vince had an immediate examination of his resilience when he was run out for two in England’s warm-up match against the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi six days ago. But he had been assured he would have a chance to prove himself once the series got under way.

“It wasn’t an ideal start, but thankfully I got an opportunity in the main games and it’s been nice to make some contributions,” he added. “I was nervous walking out that first game, in front of a full stadium, but I settled down after a couple of balls and eased into it nicely.”

On debut, he shared an important stand of 76 with his captain to put England back on course after they had stumbled to 19-3 – an encouraging response to Morgan and coach Trevor Bayliss’s decision to test him under pressure, with a view to being picked in the squad for the ICC World Twenty20 in India in March.

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