Rehaan Edavalath is the latest member of the Worcestershire Academy to make the step up into the first team and his potential was recognised by the club’s coaches from an early age.
Edavalath made his senior debut in the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Derbyshire at New Road.
It was a continuation of his gradual and impressive progress since first linking up with Worcestershire in his early teens.
But last summer the 19-year-old made significant strides forward.
He scored three centuries for the Academy in the ECB Under-18 County Championship three-day competition, including a double hundred against Somerset at Taunton Vale.
Edavalath also showed his quality at Seconds level with 164 against Gloucestershire in a Championship match at Rockhampton.
It led to him being awarded his first rookie professional contract by Worcestershire and winning the club’s 2022 Academy Player Of The Year award.
He was also selected for a ‘Best versus Best’ encounter for potential England Young Lions players at the National Performance Centre, Loughborough.
Edavalath, who was born in Wolverhampton, has always demonstrated a desire and hunger to bat for lengthy periods in the opening batters role and an appetite to learn and develop his game.
This winter that thirst for knowledge was evident when he spent three months with two leading cricket academies in India, the Karnataka Institute of Cricket in Bangalore and the CSK Academy in Chennai.
Former Worcestershire Head Coach and Seconds Coach Kevin Sharp recalls Edavalath’s early days at New Road.
He said: “Elliot Wilson (Academy Coach) is the man who scouted Rehaan who was living up in Staffordshire at the time.
“He introduced Rehaan to me at an Academy session and asked to spend 20-30 minutes with him when he was 12-13.
“I remember doing a few tennis balls drills initially, getting him to hit little targets, and he was so skilful and we knew we had got potentially a very good player on our hands, the way he manipulated the ball around and just his technique and subsequently his desire and will over the years to be successful.
“He has a very high work ethic. He joined the Academy quite young and has always been one we identified early on as the potential to be a first class cricketer.
“What impressed about him? Initially his technique and hand to eye co-ordination and then subsequently, as he has gone through the system, his desire to listen and to want to work on his game and just to that extra yard and he has always done that.
“He has always been challenged. He has had plenty of short stuff we do give these young players to try and identify those who can manage it and he was always one of those.
“This winter he wanted to challenge himself and spent some time in India, getting better and taking yourself out of your comfort zone a bit, which as a young player is what it is all about.
“He cares deeply, and he wants to do well, so we are all made up he has made his debut.”
Worcestershire Assistant Head Coach Kadeer Ali has also followed Edavalath’s progress and has no doubts about his potential.
He said: “I saw Rehaan when I was at Warwickshire, whenever we played Worcestershire, and since I’ve been here, he has been very impressive and scored near enough ten hundreds in all cricket last summer.
“We know his potential. He had a brilliant week going into this game against Derbyshire and he deserves his opportunity.
“He got out early in the first innings but these things happen and a lot of good players have got noughts on debuts. We are very hopeful for him.
“He has got that desire to learn. He is passionate and that desire and discipline when it comes to training.
“I know he was around the team last year a little bit, and he saw Jack Haynes train, and Jack hits a lot of balls and
“Rehaan took that on board. He is a hard worker; we know he has got a lot of potential.
“Has he got the potential to become a first class cricketer? Absolutely. He was in our Academy, now he is a rookie professional, but he knows he has got to keep working hard.
“This game can get tough for everybody, so he has got to keep working hard and putting performances in.”