Coach Elliot Wilson has praised the way Worcestershire’s quintet of new Academy youngsters have settled impressively into their role this winter and the support given to them by senior coaches and players.
Harry Darley, Josh Leach, Seth Essenhigh, Alfie Higgins and Louis Hursthouse are part of the 2022-2023 intake announced in October, along with six players retained from the 2021-2022 group.
They have received the type of coaching throughout the winter months designed to help them eventually progress to the stage where they may become part of the professional ranks.
Head Coach Alan Richardson, Assistant Head Coach Kadeer Ali, Assistant Coach Richard Jones, Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira and other first-teamers have lent their support to Wilson and his Academy coaching set-up.
Wilson said: “We’ve ended up with five new players, and all of them are impressive young cricketers and have all settled in really well and are embracing what they’ve been thrown into.
“As young cricketers, they’ve been challenged because we are trying to prepare them for where they need to be at 18-19 years of age, as opposed to being really good 14,15, 16 year-olds.
“We say, ‘we are going to coach you for where you need to be in four or five years’ time as opposed to what will help you to be good right now.’
“It’s great to be the best 15-year-old cricketer in Worcestershire but it’s about what you need to be doing if you want to transition onto the professional staff at 18,19,20.
“Those five younger lads have been asked to do things that might not necessarily be their preference, and they’ve embraced it in the manner you hoped they would, knowing the characters they are.”
Wilson added: “In terms of support, we’ve been very fortunate. The captain (Brett D’Oliveira) has been in and out of the hall throughout the winter, as have other players.
“Alan (Richardson), Kadeer (Ali) and Richard (Jones) have been in and out of the hall supporting the players alongside ex-players such as Alexei Kervezee, who has been a key member of the coaching team this winter.
“Kevin Sharp has continued to work with the group on a regular basis throughout the winter, even after his full-time duties ended, so the players have benefited from his time and experience.”