Virat Kohli’s influence on me good for England’s T20 World Cup bid – Will Jacks

Will Jacks believes Virat Kohli’s influence on his career can help him propel England to T20 World Cup glory.

Jacks heads in to the third T20 game against Pakistan on Tuesday full of confidence after playing a key role in Saturday’s 23-run win at Edgbaston.

The Surrey batter smashed 37 from 23 balls in what ultimately proved a decisive partnership with captain Jos Buttler as England took a 1-0 lead in the rain-hit four-match series.

England Nets Session – Monday 27th May – Sophia Gardens
England batter Will Jacks spoke to the media in Cardiff before Tuesday’s T20 international against Pakistan (Bradley Collyer/PA)

It was the latest example of Jacks’ power hitting that came to the fore in the Indian Premier League and so impressed Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate Kohli.

“The big thing with the IPL is that every game is such an occasion, the crowd, the atmosphere,” Jacks said ahead of England’s clash with Pakistan at Cardiff, little more than a week from their World Cup opener against Scotland in Barbados.

“Every game you feel like you’ve got to step up and that’s similar to international cricket.

“Playing in a World Cup is something I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid. I’m really excited to do it.

“It’s getting closer now and we’re building in the right direction.”

Batting at the opposite end to India great Kohli has the potential to unsettle far more experienced players than Jacks.

England v India – Second ODI – Lord's
India batting great Virat Kohli has had a positive influence on Will Jacks’ career (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The 25-year-old’s international experience, after all, is limited to only two Test matches, seven one-day internationals and 12 T20 appearances.

But Jacks grabbed the headlines last month by blasting an unbeaten century off just 41 balls – including 28 runs from one Rashid Khan over – as Bangalore chased down 200 to beat Gujarat Titans in a high-pressure situation.

Kohli later said he was happy to watch the carnage at the other end and play a supporting role to Jacks.

“He’s a very good role model,” said Jacks, who also bowls useful off-spin. “The way he approaches all the training and every aspect of the game off the field, his intensity, everything he does is a 100 per cent attention.

“He’s done it for such a long time and I can appreciate that as a young guy who often doesn’t want to do the hard yards, but you see him doing it and want to copy that.

“When we were batting together, he was coaching me through there. I learned some valuable things about chasing in that innings and pacing the game, which was really helpful.

“I was really proud of the way I stayed in the partnership, didn’t throw it away.

“I kind of proved to myself I can do it at number three and I’m just building my repertoire of things I can do.”

By his own admission, Jacks says his T20 England career has been a “mixed bag” with 218 runs coming at a modest average of 18.16.

But the drive for consistency has not been helped by Jacks switching between opening the innings and batting at three.

He said: “I’ve probably opened half my games and batted number three in the other half. It’s no lie that I’m new to batting at three, I’m learning on the job.

England Nets Session – Monday 27th May – Sophia Gardens
England paceman Jofra Archer took part in a nets session at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Monday (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“But I got eight innings batting at three in the IPL and I’ve learned a lot. I feel comfortable, I don’t feel too worried about what situation I’m going to come in at.

“My numbers in my international career have not been amazing, but I think I’ve shown promise. It’s not like I’ve been getting less than five.

“I’ve been getting starts every game and it’s about how do I change those into match-winning scores. That’s more of a mindset thing.

“What does the team need from me? How do I set up the game for the team?

“I think I’m quite a fast scorer, so it might almost be me taking an extra ball, getting off strike, taking a bit more time to come down the other end to assess the situation.

England v Pakistan – Second IT20 – Edgbaston
Moeen Ali is set to take over the England captaincy for Tuesday’s T20 international against Pakistan with Jos Buttler unavailable (Bradley Collyer/PA)

“It doesn’t matter what I’m averaging: if the team’s winning, then it’s good.”

England will be without Jos Buttler in Cardiff with his wife about to give birth to their third child.

Moeen Ali will take over the captaincy and Ben Duckett is set to open the innings in Buttler’s absence.