England`s Ashes preparations `a farce` with 15-year-old bowling to them

London: England`s Ashes preparations had reportedly been reduced to a farce after a 15-year-old schoolboy was brought in the Essex side following injuries to bowlers David Masters, Tymal Mills and Tom Westley, until head coach Andy Flower called up reinforcements to try to make the side more worthwhile.

Masters had an Achilles injury, Mills a tight hamstring and Westley a dislocated finger, leaving Essex`s bowling resources stretched and in danger by facing part-time bowler Owais Shah, following which schoolboy Aaron Beard was brought in.

However, Flower demanded that the non-playing bowlers Boyd Rankin and Reece Topley be called in to test them and remove first-class status from the game, giving batsmen Joe Root, Jonathan Trott and Captain Alastair Cook, who were in need of a challenge, some worthwhile practice.

Beard, who arrived as a net bowler but was sent on to field, had to see his special day end after the coming in of Rankin and Topley, but he enjoyed far more than he bargained for when he arrived at the ground.

According to Beard, he had never thought that he would be out on the field at the age of 15, adding that it was a ridiculous and a surreal experience and made him nervous in the first couple of overs.

Stating that he got permission to come into the Essex side to help them, Beard further said that he came down to bowl to England and was going to stay to watch, adding that he did not think that he would get the chance to field.