Aneurin Donald Interview

17-year-old Aneurin Donald has enjoyed quite a summer. He has been captain of a very successful England Under-17 side and played above his age for the Under-19 side too. Couple that alongside continually improving performances for Glamorgan 2nd XI and the future looks bright for the young batsmen. The culmination of his year came this week, as he made his senior first class debut for Glamorgan in their final Championship match against Hampshire. Donald acquitted himself exceptionally well during his debut, top scoring in Glamorgan’s second innings. He scored 59 from just 60 balls as the rest of his side crumbled to a disappointing 152 all out. Donald has recently signed a new contract at Glamorgan and will be looking to make a big impact in the coming seasons. An opening batsman who is also working to improve his occasional wicket keeping, Donald is very much the modern day cricketer. “I used to bowl a bit too, but my bowling is frowned upon these days. I’m always looking to improve my wicket keeping and it certainly adds another string to my bow; you look at guys like Bairstow and Buttler and their keeping has definitely helped them to push on with their careers and gain higher honours.” “I think the keeping also helps with getting into touring parties and squads; the more you can offer as a player the better.” Donald certainly hasn’t had any trouble finding his way into any of the England junior squads this summer. As captain of the Under-17’s he led his side to both an ODI and Test series win over their Pakistan counterparts, as well as a surprise victory against South Africa Under-19’s. “The win against South Africa was very exciting, to beat lads who are two years older and more experienced was a great thrill. The bowlers are certainly a yard or two quicker and the ball comes off the bat quicker – it really was a great win.” “We totally dominated the One-Day series against Pakistan and we should have won 3-0 really, but to win 2-1 was still a fantastic achievement.” “The Test match was very dramatic. Both sides declared in the first innings and Pakistan ended up having to chase about 350 in 80 overs. They raced to 200/1 and had an opener who just smashed it but we came back magnificently and took 8 wickets in the final session to win the match.” A leader from a young age, Donald has led sides right throughout his young career. His time as captain of the England Under 17’s this summer has been spectacularly successful. “I’ve always captained sides and it’s an aim of mine to continue to lead. My friends will tell you that I like to have an element of control in everything I do, so captaincy suits me.” A talented enough batsman to warrant selection for the Under-19’s side also, Donald was at the crease as the side secured victory in the fourth youth ODI. “I was called up for the Under-19’s because a couple of lads were ill. It was a great experience and a brilliant chance to play on proper county grounds like Trent Bridge and Grace Road. I was brought in on the day of the match and ended up falling out of a taxi just as play was starting.” Donald says that he doesn’t come from a “particularly cricketing family” but his great uncle was the late Bernard Hedges. Hedges son, Steve, has recently completed a full walk of the boundary of Wales in aid of the cricketing charity ‘Chance to Shine’ “I got into cricket via rugby really. I was playing on a Saturday morning and saw the cricket happening opposite, I just started to join in on with the youth training and that was it. I’ve been lucky enough to represent my region right through all the age groups and currently play my club cricket for Mumbles.” Looking towards the future, Donald is undoubtedly ambitious, with hopes of representing both Glamorgan and England. “I hope to be involved in the Under-19 set up again next season. I think they’re having a bit of a shake up but there’s a tour of Australia coming up and I’d love to be involved in that. While enjoying his time in the England youth set up, Donald is also keen to kick on with Glamorgan and play more senior cricket. “I want to get my name into the first team reckoning more often next season. I’ve been included in T20 squads and some Championship squads during this summer and that’s been a great experience. I think I just need to kick on and start making the big contributions in the Second XI, scoring 60 or 70 is great but it doesn’t always influence games. At the moment my game is more suited to the shorter formats but I’m working hard on batting for longer periods and making those big scores.” After an exceptional 2014, Donald is aiming to make the next year even better. With more England honours in the offering and a place in Glamorgan 1st XI up for grabs it’s a big 12 months for the local lad. Aneurin Donald is certainly one to watch for 2015 and beyond.

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