Alex Gidman is to become the latest Worcestershire CCC coach chosen to assist England with their preparations ahead of an international match.
Gidman – the County’s Second Eleven Coach – is to link up with England on Thursday ahead of their second T20I with India at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff 24 hours later (July 6).
It follows on from Head Coach Kevin Sharp undertaking a similar role ahead of last summer’s Test at Trent Bridge, also when occupying the Second Eleven Coach role at the time.
Former Gloucestershire captain Gidman has also been overseeing much of the Rapids white ball preparations alongside Bowling Coach Alan Richardson as part of Sharp’s desire to have a flexible coaching set-up.
He will be absent from the opening Vitality Blast game at Lancashire Lightning on Thursday because of his international call but will be back with the Rapids on Friday for the first home match versus Birmingham Bears.
Sharp confirmed: “England play India on Friday at Cardiff and Alex has been selected to go and join the squad the day before to help with preparations for the game.
“It is similar to when I went to Trent Bridge last year for the Test match against South Africa.
“What the ECB are doing now on preparation days for games is inviting coaches along for some experience and to feel part of an England set-up.
“I think it is a great PR exercise and it is a great development for a coach and Alex is really delighted. It is a feather in his cap. It is good for him, good for the club, good for our lads.
“I was made up when I was given that opportunity last year. You do your work and to have those sort of development opportunities is brilliant.
“This is early in Alex’s coaching career. This is his first year as a coach in the professional game.
“He will come back with some information and some knowledge and he will be able to share that with us as well.”
Sharp is delighted with the contribution that Gidman and Richardson have made already to the Rapids campaign.
He said: “Alex and Alan are very skilled and experienced in white ball cricket. They both played it recently.
“Alex has been a captain at Gloucestershire in a fine one-day team and, for me, as Head Coach, it was a no-brainer for me to get those two together and stamp their authority on white ball cricket.
“They have done that in the 50 over competition and they will do the same in the T20.
“It has been priceless. The lads have welcomed it. We’ve all been a bit flexible in our whereabouts whether it is first team or second eleven.
“It has allowed me a little bit of freedom to go with the Seconds and watch them play and see the next generation and that is important to me as Head Coach, to pay attention to what is going on in the bigger picture.
“That to me is really important and it is what the club want as well.”