Luke Wells plays for Sussex CCC and is the son of former England Test cricketer, Alan Wells. Luke, having been a strong performer for the England U19s, made his First Class debut for Sussex in 2010 at the age of just 19. Sportsvibe caught up with Luke as the cricket season nears an exciting climax which sees Sussex in the hunt for all three trophies on offer. We covered a range of topics from the typical British weather that has plagued this season, to his experiences from U19 international cricket and also what is in store in the future.
Having broken into the first team recently, how much are you relishing the opportunity?
"It's great to get the chance. Obviously so many games earlier in the Summer were lost to bad weather, it's nice to actually play some cricket and play back-to-back matches. It's been going well and personally, the game against Surrey, after being dropped for 2 games and then I came back in and got a match-winning hundred, that was probably the biggest highlight of my career so far to come out with a win. Then getting a fifty in each innings of the most recent game, I have to say it's going pretty well."
If you continue your form in Championship cricket, do you hope to get a chance in the Pro40 competition and perhaps earn a place in the squad for the T20 Finals day?
"All I can do is score runs, and perform at my best when given the opportunity. It's obviously been frustrating not getting a chance in the one day format this year. All I can do is go back into the 2nd team, play the one day cricket there, perform well, wait for my chance and take it when it comes. I think that's all what part of being a professional sportsman is - you prepare yourself for that time when that opportunity comes so you're in that right state of mind and the right place to go and take that opportunity with both hands and that's all I can really do at this stage."
How are you finding the constant change from playing Championship cricket to then play one-day cricket in the 2nd team?
"I must admit it has been a bit frustrating, but at the same time I recognise that our top order in the T20 and one day cricket is very strong so it's hard to get a go. Last year I think it affected me more because last year being my main year and getting off to a good start to then come back down it was definitely more difficult. This year I've just decided to not really think about it too much and I've just tried to score as many runs as possible at whatever level of cricket I'm playing at. So far this year it's gone pretty well."
Has your change of mindset been a result of tapping into the experiences of your dad's cricket career?
"Without a doubt, coaches are obviously one outlet but they're in charge and so it's priceless for me to be able to come home and chat to my dad about anything that's going on in the team, or going on with my own game, or anything related to my cricket. Obviously he is someone who has been through every stage of a career that a professional sportsman will go through - he's been the young player; he's been the senior player, ups and downs he's been there and done it all. Obviously to tap into that experience has definitely helped me. This year I just decided to try to maintain a level mindset in terms of what I know and in my own game. I've tried to keep it simple and not worry about all the external factors such as selection. I've just been trying to concentrate on what I do and improve as much as I can as a player and everything else will fall into place hopefully."
What is the atmosphere like around Sussex CCC at the moment?
"We are still in contention for all three trophies which most of the other counties couldn't dream of so it's a very exciting time. It's definitely crunch time so we have to bring our 'A' game to all our competitions if we want to come out with any trophies this year, but I'm very positive that we are going to come out with a trophy. I think we are red-hot favourites for both one day competitions, and we are third in the Championship with four games to go so if we bring all our skills and all our games together and perform to the best of our ability then we have every chance of coming out with at least one trophy."
What would you put down as the recipe for success this season?
"I think, especially in one day cricket, the guys have gone out there with a real no fear of failure attitude. With people like Matt Prior coming back into the team and with the likes of Luke Wright, the way they go about their batting it is in a completely fearless manner due to all the preparation they have done to know they can clear the boundary. As a result the rest of the team feeds off that and backs themselves and the decisions they make out in the middle. For example if somebody gets out playing a reverse-sweep but they know it's their best shot and have scored countless runs with it then there is no telling off and people back themselves to play their shots. That's certainly been the recipe in one day cricket and in four day cricket it has been more of a struggle but having said that we are still in third. If we can tap into the confidence we have shown in the one day cricket into the four day game then we can most certainly win two or three more games which will put us right in contention for that trophy."
So the fear of failure being taken out of your game has been the real key to success?
"There really hasn't been much of a fear of failure at all from the guys and obviously that's all well and good but they are fantastically talented players. I think our top order is probably the strongest batting order in the country with the likes of (Luke) Wright, (Scott) Styris, (Matt) Prior, (Chris) Nash, and (Murray) Goodwin. That would be a good batting lineup in any standard of cricket so those guys just go out there and do their thing and the whole team gets behind us and then we take that into the fielding performances as well."
The Under 19 World Cup is about to get underway in Australia. Are there any players you think are worth keeping an eye on for the future?
"As part of a Second XI T20 tournament, Sussex got to the final and played against the England U19 team. There was one particular player, Ben Duckett played an exceptional innings and took that game away from us so he was a very impressive player. Obviously alongside the likes of Daniel Bell-Drummond and the captain Adam Ball but from what I've seen, Ben Duckett is definitely a name to look out for."
Having previously been part of the England Under 19 setup, do you have any advice for the current crop of young players?
"The one bit of advice I'd give them would be the fact that although U19 cricket is a fantastic thing to do and a great achievement, the guys have to realise that it really is the very first rung on the ladder of professional cricket. They have to realise that if they play for the U19s then they've by no means made it in the sport, so I think you have to stay humble and realise there is a very long way to go in terms of First Class cricket and potentially full England honours."
What are your hopes for the future and do you ultimately harbour aspirations to play for England? What are your thoughts on James Taylor gaining a Test call up?
"Of course everyone has aspirations to play for England, and I'm no exception. I'm desperate to represent my country but that only happens through being a consistent performer in county cricket and that's exactly what James Taylor has done. His figures and stats are incredible and he most certainly deserves his chance for what he has done in the game so far at such a young age. The key for me is to solely concentrate on my own performances for Sussex and become the consistent performer and the first batsman on the team sheet. If you score your runs then everything else will come my way."
What are your plans for this Winter and for moving forward?
"I'm potentially planning to go away to play club cricket in Australia if nothing else comes up which will be a fantastic experience. I've never actually played club cricket in Australia and so I'm looking forward to going out their and experiencing the Australian culture and their cricket and everything."