By Josh Bartholomew
Hampton 1st XI seamer Blake Cullen has been called up by the England U19 squad for their winter tour of the West Indies, where the team will take part in a tri-series with the host nation and Sri Lanka.
Cullen, who bowls medium-fast and is a hard-hitting batsman, played for the national age-group side for the first time this summer, taking nine wickets in a tri-series against Bangladesh and India.
He was first selected for Middlesex’s 2nd XI as an U15, and has since been a regular fixture, playing against numerous county stalwarts. Cullen was initially selected to go on tour with the U19s last winter, but missed out due to a back injury.
Speaking to Middlesex CCC’s website, Cullen said: “It was definitely a shame last year not being able to go away, but the enjoyment this summer definitely made up for it. It was a great environment to be around and I learnt plenty.
“I had a great time with the team. I actually found out the news when I was involved in a Middlesex 2nd XI game at Southgate. The call came during the lunch break, and my mind drifted for the rest of the day! It was a great experience overall.
“I’m thrilled to be going away, to be honest! Antigua isn’t a bad place to be spending November and December. I’m really excited to get in that environment again. The challenge of balancing that alongside school stuff will be a bit of a pain, but I’m looking forward to it.
“With a bit of luck, I’ll be able to see what South Africa’s about in January for the U19 World Cup!”