Kadeer Ali says Worcestershire’s crop of exciting young talent should be encouraged by the example of spinner Josh Baker after his rapid elevation into the first team squad.
Baker was part of the Academy side at the start of last summer, but some impressive performances for the Seconds led to promotion to the senior side in mid-season.
The current Academy players will have their opportunity with the Seconds this summer, and many of them featured in Worcestershire’s warm-up games during the past fortnight.
Seconds Coach Kadeer said: “Josh was on the Academy 18 months ago, so he has been fast-tracked very quickly, and he deserves it.
“He has come into the environment full of confidence and has done what he has done since he was a young kid. He has bowled consistently.
“A great example and anyone on the Academy should be encouraged by what he has done. I’m sure they will have opportunities to play, exposure to Seconds cricket, and, with hard work, they can start pushing.
“We’ve had six or seven Academy lads playing in the pre-season games, and there is a Seconds game this week against South Asian Cricket Academy with seven Academy lads involved.
“There are a few talented lads. Oli Cox last season showed some encouraging signs. Reeve Evitts, Ben Parker, Ismail Mohammed, Rehaan Edavalath, there are quite a few of them.
“I could name all of them. They are all going to have good opportunities, and hopefully, a few of them can take their chances.”
Kadeer also knows the importance of Seconds cricket for players returning from injury, trying to recapture form or striving to regain a first team spot.
He said: “If you look at Jack Haynes early last season, he came into the second team, got some big scores, put the pressure on, and got into the side.
“That is the same for everyone else. Batters or bowlers, they’ve got to try and perform and keep pushing Alex (Gidman) for a first team place.
“It is really exciting for me, trying to get guys back into the first team alongside the young lads coming through the Academy.”
Taylor Cornall will captain the Seconds in the two-day game against the South Asian Cricket Academy at Stratford, which begins tomorrow (Tuesday).