Josh Davey has been named in Scotland’s provisional 24-man squad for the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup taking place in New Zealand and Australia early next year.
Meanwhile, George Dockrell has been named as part of a 15-man Ireland squad to tour the UAE from January 4 to 19 as part of their final preparations for the World Cup. The trip will include four full one-day internationals, two against Afghanistan and two against Scotland, where he may find himself on the opposite side to Josh.
George Bartlett and Sam Underdown, who are both on the Somerset Academy, will also be heading to the UAE this winter. Both youngsters have been selected for the England Under 17s touring party to the Emirates in February.
Also heading to the Gulf is another Academy player, Ben Green who was included in the 17-man England Development Programme (EDP) squad that departed last Thursday (11 December) for an intensive ten-day training camp at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
Meanwhile Jamie Overton has been training at Loughborough with the ECB Potential Emerging Player bowling group for the third winter running, while brother Craig has been in South Africa as part of a four-week England Performance Programme training camp. Craig will return to South Africa early in the New Year as part of the Lions’ tour of the country.
Our verdict: It’s encouraging to see so many Somerset youngsters emerging through the youth system and being rewarded with call-ups by their country. It’s testament to the investment the club places in developing its youngsters and the hard work that Andy Hurry and Jason Kerr and the support staff at the Academy put in year-in, year-out. Add to that the success that George and Josh have achieved with Ireland and Scotland and the long-term future looks bright indeed for the club.
Josh recently took time out to talk about his packed winter, which has already included a tour of Australia and New Zealand with Scotland and a batting camp in Dubai run by Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard.
He said: “I have been away pretty much all of the time since the end of the season. I went straight out with Scotland for a tour to Australia and New Zealand. First of all we went to Hobart where we played a couple of games against the Tasmanian side and after losing the first we came back strongly to win the second. We then headed to Brisbane where we played in hot weather which was very welcome. We had a long week training there and then played one match against Queensland which we lost.”
“After that we moved onto Christchurch in New Zealand which along with Hobart is where we are going to be playing our World Cup games next year. We spent two weeks in Christchurch, which was a good experience and although the weather wasn’t as nice as Brisbane we played four games against New Zealand, Otago, Wellington and Canterbury.”
“As a squad we really came together there because we only lost by one run to New Zealand. We lost narrowly to Canterbury then beat Wellington before losing to Otago.”
Josh was pleased with his form during his time away: “Personally I was quite happy and doing quite well. I was batting in a different position to normal – lower middle, which is somewhere I haven’t batted before.
“Normally I have been a little bit higher so it was good to add that experience to my game. I also got a few wickets, and even though I was a bit tired adding that extra month onto the season we had back here, I was happy and got through.”
“It was good to see the grounds we are going to be playing on in the World Cup as well and play on them.”
Josh went on: “I then came back for 10 days before travelling out to Dubai for a batting camp run by Matt Maynard, based at the ICC Academy where there were great facilities. It was just a batting camp and I got the chance to work with Matt and got to know the way he goes about his coaching. Now I am back I am concentrating on getting myself into good shape ready for the New Year when I am back out to Dubai with Scotland for three weeks, during which we play some games, including Ireland who will have George (Dockrell) in their side.”
“After a difficult winter last year I feel that I have got my foot back in the door again now. I am back into the Scotland squad and want to push for a place in their World Cup team.”
Josh concluded: “My main goal now is to get back to playing Championship cricket again, and now I am getting that little bit older I don’t think I am putting as much pressure on myself. I really think that having got my consistency up in 2014 playing for the Seconds, that I can push for a spot in the first team.”
The provisional Scotland squad of 24 will be reduced to 15 players on January 7 before they travel to the UAE.
As well as George, the 15-man Ireland squad to visit the UAE in January also includes Kevin O’Brien who played T20 cricket for Somerset during the 2012 season.
The final World Cup squad will not be announced until early January, following submission to the ICC.
National Head Coach Phil Simmons commented on the selection: “There is a nice balance to the squad, which has a huge wealth of experience, but also a few young guns.”
Ireland recently held a training camp at the ICC Academy in Dubai where they played two List A games against New Zealand A.
George played in the first of the two games which Ireland won by four wickets, returning figures of 7-0-38-0, O’Brien taking 4-39. (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/794613.html)
George Bartlett and Sam Underdown
George Bartlett and Sam Underdown, who are both on the Somerset Academy have been selected for the England Under 17s touring party to UAE in February.
George who lives near Yeovil, goes to school at Millfield and plays club cricket for Glastonbury said: “Its great news and a wonderful opportunity for me to be chosen to represent England at Under 17 level and going to Dubai will be a good experience.
The right handed batsman who also bowls off spin went on: “I haven’t been involved with the England set-up before so I am really looking forward to it very much and it should be a great environment to work and play cricket in.”
Sam, who hails from near Wellington is a top order batsman and plays his club cricket for Taunton Deane CC. Speaking after he received the call from ECB National Performance Manager David Graveney, Sam said: “Naturally I’m thrilled and excited at the prospect of playing for the England 17s. It is an opportunity to test myself against an international team.
“I’ve been fortunate to have been encouraged and guided by some great coaches here at King’s and at the County Ground and I can’t wait to put everything I have learnt from them into action in testing conditions.”
On Sam’s return he will be preparing for the King’s cricket season, in which he will captain the school’s highly regarded 1st XI, and also for his A level exams, in which he is aiming for straight A grades in order to get into Exeter University, while at the same time pushing for a Somerset place.
Somerset bowling coach Jason Kerr who has worked with both of the young players when he was Academy Director said: “Its fantastic news that both Sam and George have been selected to represent England. This will be a great opportunity not only to test their skills against international opposition in foreign conditions but also to develop life skills whilst touring the UAE.
“They are both very exciting prospects and experiences like this will only aid their development. Personally I’m very excited to watch a number of the current Academy develop over the coming months and years.
He added: “I’m sure this won’t be the only international recognition this winter for the Academy and huge credit has to go to the coaching and support staff, who have worked with them up to this point, especially Greg Kennis, Paul Tweddle and the former Director Andy Hurry.”
Ben was included in the 17-man England Development Programme (EDP) squad that departed last Thursday (11 December) for an intensive ten-day training camp at the ICC Academy in Dubai.
The 17 year old all-rounder who came up through the Devon youth system before joining the Somerset Academy has already played for the Second XI and claimed 3 for 18 against Gloucestershire in 2014.
“I am really pleased and very grateful for this opportunity to train with such a talented bunch of players in a challenging environment. Obviously I was thrilled when I was told I would be touring, and I am seeing it as a great chance to develop my game whilst in a different country.”
Ben added: “I have been lucky to have been identified by the Somerset Academy who have helped me strive towards reaching my goals. Somerset have allowed me to realise my hunger and desire to succeed and I’m very grateful for the opportunities they have given me to develop my game so far in a short period of time.”
The UAE training and development camp will be the first tour overseen by ECB’s new Head of the England Development Programme, Andy Hurry.
Speaking about the tour, Hurry said: “The EDP training camp to the UAE serves two important purposes. First, it provides an early opportunity to expose this group of young players to challenging subcontinental conditions in a world-class training environment at the ICC Academy. Secondly, it allows us to work with the country’s highest potential young players in an England cricket environment for a concentrated period of time. Together, the overall aim of the ten days is to facilitate a progression in skill execution, alongside developing an appreciation of what it takes to train and play at the highest level.”
Ahead of the start of the 2015 English cricket season, the EDP will embark on two playing tours. An EDP U17 side will take on Pakistan U17s in the UAE in February and an England U19 side will tour against Australia U19s in March-April.