By Stuart Dunn at the Shrewsbury Chronicle
VICTORY in his first appearance as England under-19 captain came at a cost for exciting Shrewsbury all-rounder Ed Barnard in the United Arab Emirates.
Barnard, who only turned 18 last month, was handed the huge honour of captaining his country in the opening match of their Tri-Series tournament against hosts UAE last Sunday.
It’s not the first time that Barnard, a popular figure with his Shrewsbury team mates at London Road, has enjoyed the thrill of captaining an England side having previously led the under-17s against Sri Lanka.
Barnard played his part, too, leading from the front to hit a half century and later holding on to two catches as England secured a 42 run victory over UAE in Abu Dhabi.
But the Shrewsbury School student also suffered the pain of a dislocated finger which meant he had to sit out England’s second match the following day, a three-wicket defeat against Pakistan.
Barnard, who missed 12 weeks of the domestic summer owing to a back injury, will now hope to have recovered in time to play in England’s next two games.
They take on UAE tomorrow (Friday) and then meet Pakistan again on Sunday, with both matches in Sharjah.
Barnard batted at number five against the UAE last weekend and led a revival from 47-3 when he came to the crease to help England post 300-6 from their 50 overs.
Barnard struck five fours on his way to making 53 from 58 balls before fellow Shropshire lad Joe Clarke, who, like Barnard, is also contracted to first class county Worcestershire, added an unbeaten 81 from just 64 deliveries on his England debut.
Barnard then successfully called the shots in the field as UAE were dismissed for 258 in the final over of the match.
Barnard scored a century on his England Youth Test debut against South Africa in Cape Town earlier this year and continues to enjoy impressive progress in his flourishing career.
He will return home to Shrewsbury from his current overseas tour just in time for Christmas on December 23.