Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton has been rewarded for an excellent season with bat and ball by being selected as part of this winter’s England Performance Programme squad.
Craig, who also played for England Lions this summer, will join a seven man party of fast bowlers who will travel to Potchefstroom in South Africa in November.
The England Performance Programme squad is being split in two with a group of 12 batsmen and spinners travelling separately to Sri Lanka, the same country where the main England one-day team will play seven ODIs.
With the World Cup taking place in Australia and New Zealand after Christmas, it is possible that some members of the EPP squad could still force their way into the reckoning for the final 15 for that tournament. However at this stage, it is likely that the selectors will stick with the players already selected for the ODIs against Sri Lanka.
Joining Craig in South Africa will be Yorkshire’s Jack Brooks and Liam Plunkett, Surrey’s Matthew Dunn, Derbyshire’s Mark Footitt, Warwickshire’s Boyd Rankin and Durham’s Mark Wood.
As we said when Craig was picked for the England Lions squad this summer, his selection is fitting recognition for all the effort he has put in for Somerset and the progress he has made with both bat and ball.
Craig played in all four of England Lions’ matches against New Zealand A and Sri Lanka A in early August and has been involved in the England development programme for a couple of years now. He toured Australia as part of a Lions squad in early 2013 and also won a place on the ECB Potential Emerging Player Programme in South Africa at the start of this year.
In the County Championship this year, Craig has scored 662 runs in 12 games at an average of 33.15 with three half-centuries, including a highest score of 99. He’s also taken 40 championship wickets at 29.52 with a best of 5-63.
Surprisingly there’s no place for Lewis Gregory in the EPP fast bowlers squad this November. Craig Kieswetter has also missed out, following his injury.
England Performance programme – batting and spin (SL): Zafar Ansari, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Stephen Parry, Samit Patel, Adil Rashid, Adam Riley, Jason Roy, James Vince, Tom Westley
England Performance programme – fast bowlers (South Africa): Jack Brooks, Matthew Dunn, Mark Footitt, Craig Overton, Liam Plunkett, Boyd Rankin, Mark Wood