Ben Charlesworth continues to validate hype
11 November 2019
In 2019, Ben Charlesworth showed once again why supporters of Gloucestershire Cricket should be excited about the recently graduated teenager.
Finishing exams and a minor hand injury prevented Charlesworth from featuring for much of the season but he still showed why he is considered one of the most promising talents in English cricket.
A tour of Bangladesh with the Young Lions kickstarted Ben’s year and he hit the ground running with impressive performances in both ODI and Test matches.
An average of 32.5 in the opening two ODIs shared just a glimpse of what was to come. A scintillating 115 in the third youth ODI was made even more impressive when you consider he outscored the rest of the England team by 38 runs.
Five days later and the Young Lions embarked on the first youth Test of the year but a change in format was no issue for the 18-year-old. He followed up his century with a patiently constructed 99 to lead all scorers for the second game running.
Charlesworth didn’t feature heavily for Gloucestershire in the early stages of the season but he did shine for the Second XI in early July, making 144 off 227 balls in a Second XI Championship match against rivals Somerset.
The Fergal O’Brien Cheltenham Cricket Festival was the setting for Ben’s return to first team cricket, but a split webbing picked up in training meant fans of The Shire would have to wait a little longer to see the young man in action.
While Gloucestershire supporters at Cheltenham were unable to see Ben play in the black and yellow or traditional whites of the county, thousands still gathered to witness Charlesworth make two half-centuries in the Under-19 Tri-Series in matches against India and Bangladesh, the first helping England to their first win over India in more than two years.
Important contributions followed in the final four County Championship matches of a campaign in which Gloucestershire secured a return to the top-flight of First-class cricket. The first time the county will play in the premier division since Charlesworth was four years old.
He equaled his high score of 77 in the final match of the season to help ensure there would be no final day upset at the Bristol County Ground. The potential future opener also showed off his bowling skills, taking three wickets in 18 overs.
2020 presents Richard Dawson with a full year of availability for Charlesworth which has so far not been the case and Division One cricket awaits a teenager who has yet to falter at any challenge presented to him thus far.