Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Graveney Academy Praise As Worcs Quintet Earn England Under-19S Call-Up

Graveney Academy Praise As Worcs Quintet Earn England Under-19S Call-Up

Five Worcestershire players have been included in the England Under-19s squad for this summer's matches against their Sri Lankan counterparts.

Josh Tongue, Ben Twohig, Josh Dell and Zen Malik have been named for the two Tests and three ODIs which will take place between July 26 and August 16.

A fifth Worcestershire player in Ollie Westbury has been chosen for the two Tests.

It is further international recognition for the County after Brett D'Oliveira and Joe Clarke – himself a former Under-19 player along with Ed Barnard – were named in the England Lions squad for the forthcoming Tri-Series squad with Sri Lanka 'A' and Pakistan 'A'.

Paceman Tongue, spinner Twohig and batsman Dell have been part of the England Development Programme group this winter where the focus has been on the post 2016 Under-19 World Cup period.

David Graveney OBE, chairman of selectors for the EDP, is full of praise for the Academy set-up at New Road after the quintet were chosen.

He said: “For Worcestershire to provide four players to both squads, and a fifth in the four-day squad, is a fine reflection on the work being done by Elliott Wilson and all the other coaches involved with the Academy at New Road.

"It is perhaps also a good time to reflect on the contribution made by the late Damian D’Oliveira in previous years.

"These players made a major contribution to the success of the Midlands in our Super Fours competition at Under-17 level last summer, and it is good to see them continuing their progress together as a group.”

Academy coach Wilson said: "I'm proud for the whole club and everything that has been set up over the last 10 years in terms of investing in our own players, investing in Worcestershire players.

"The culmination of that being five players selected in the latest England Under-19 squad is a great effort and the five lads really do deserve the opportunity they are going to get in the next month to go and represent their country.

"The three lads, Josh Tongue, Ben Twohig and Josh Dell, have been on the fringes of things for the last 12 months, and then through sheer weight of performances and future potential, both Ollie Westbury and Zen Malik have been brought in as well.

"I wish all five of them the best of luck and hope they enjoy every minute of it and learn absolutely bucketloads.

"It is really good for them hearing different voices for a couple of weeks. They probably get sick to the back teeth of talking to me and Sharpy (second eleven coach Kevin Sharp)!

"For them to be around the England Under-19 coaching team of Andy Hurry, Tim Boon and Iain Brunnschweiler will be really good for them."

England will play a two-day warm-up game against Unicorns at Loughborough on July 21 before the two four-day Tests at Fenners (beginning on July 26) and Northampton (August 3).

They will be followed by the ODIs being held on August 10 at Wormsley, August 13 at Chelmsford and August 16 at Canterbury.

Tongue has already made his first class debut for Worcestershire and was included in the squad for this week's Specsavers County Championship match at Northampton.

Max Holden, an opening batsman from Middlesex, has been appointed to captain.

Holden is one of only a handful of players remaining from England’s squad for the ICC Under-19 World Cup earlier this year, partly because of the progress being made at county level by several players who remain eligible.

Somerset’s George Bartlett is the only other player in a 14-man squad for the four-day matches who was involved in the World Cup, while his county team-mate Ben Green and the Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper-batsman Tom Moores are included in a separate 14-man squad for the three-match 50-over series.

Moores is one of three players in that squad to have played county cricket this season – in his case during a loan spell with Lancashire in the NatWest T20 Blast. The others are Gloucestershire’s George Hankins and the Essex seamer Aaron Beard.

Graveney added: “Congratulations to Max on being appointed captain, and to all the other players who have been selected for what should be an interesting and challenging series of matches against Sri Lanka in two formats.

“Max has been in the EDP for a number of years, and has progressed from a position where he was one of the youngest players to now being one of the senior players and earning the captaincy, which I know he is excited about.

“We always work closely with counties to decide what is best for the development of each player, and it has been pleasing to see that 14 players who represented England Under-19s over the last 12 months have played first-team cricket this season, including 11 of the 15 we took to the World Cup in Bangladesh – and in many cases have already made significant contributions.

“Clearly we took that into account in selecting this squad, and that has led to opportunities for a number of other players."

Squads Four-day matches: Max Holden (Middlesex, captain), Josh Dell, Zen Malik, Josh Tongue, Ben Twohig, Ollie Westbury (all Worcestershire), George Hankins (Gloucestershire), George Bartlett (Somerset), Ollie Pope (wk), Amar Verdi (both Surrey), George Panayi (Warwickshire), Aaron Beard (Essex), Ed Barnes (Yorkshire), Josh Coughlin (Durham).

Royal London One-Day Series: Max Holden (Middlesex, captain), Josh Dell, Zen Malik, Josh Tongue, Ben Twohig (all Worcestershire), George Hankins (Gloucestershire), George Bartlett, Dom Bess, Ben Green (all Somerset), Ollie Pope (Surrey, wk), Aaron Beard (Essex), Ed Barnes (Yorkshire), Tom Moores (wk), Jack Blatherwick (both Nottinghamshire).