Worcestershire CCC have finalised their 2020-2021 Academy intake – and it includes four newcomers.
Jack Home, Joe Stanley, Josh Baker and Ben Parker will be part of the 11 strong Academy group for the next 12 months.
They will link up with last year’s newcomers Harry Cooke and Ollie Walker, who will be entering their second year, Reehan Edavalath and Reeve Evitts (third year) plus Ed Bragg, Josh Dickenson and Henry Cullen. They will participate in a fourth and final year.
Home (Shrewsbury School) is a batting all-rounder and youngest of the quartet, Stanley (Thomas Telford School) a left-handed batsman and right-arm off-spinner, Josh Baker (Malvern College) a left-arm spinner and Ben Parker (Thomas Telford School) a right-arm fast bowler.
Academy Coach Elliot Wilson believes the quartet possess the necessary kind of qualities required to help them with their bid to break into the professional game eventually.
He said: “Looking at some of the skills that are required and essential for playing the game at the moment, these guys do a lot of those things very well.
“They are very reliable cricketers. They are consistent, and they performed not only in their own age group but in the open age group environment.
“For example, Joe Stanley has played first-team cricket for Wolverhampton for the past two years in the Birmingham League and done very well as a 14-15-year-old.
“You are always looking at a couple of things, trying to get the balance right between current readiness, how well they are performing now, and their future potential.
“You try not to get blinded by what you think they might be able to do in the future because I haven’t got a crystal ball.
“But you do need to think is their game suited to progressing to the next level and, with all the guys, they wouldn’t be on the Academy unless we felt they had some characteristics that are going to give them a chance of progressing to the next level.
“We will see over the next three or four years which of these crop of players get the opportunity to have rookie contracts and then full contracts and represent Worcestershire CCC at New Road.
“My job is to support players who perform to a level that knock on the door and say to Alex (Gidman) ‘you need to think about me for a rookie contract.’
“But they can’t do that based on potential. They have to do that based on form, and Mitchell Stanley (Academy player) when he played at the back end of last summer (2019) was outstanding and merited his rookie contract.
“There are guys on the Academy who I hope in 12 months will be in a similar position. We are pleased to be able to support them over the next 12 months.
“Rehaan Edavalath and Harry Cooke will move onto their Under-17 year on the Academy while Ollie Walker and Reeve Evitts will move onto their Under-16 year on the Academy.
“There will be four new players in the programme. The youngest, Jack Home, who is from Shropshire, is a batting all-rounder, he is Under-15s this year and is at Shrewsbury School.
“Joe Stanley is from Wolverhampton CC, who is a left-handed batsman and right-arm off-spinner who is at Thomas Telford School.
“Josh Baker, who has been in and around our programme for some time and is joining us as an Under-18 and he is a left-arm spinner who goes to Malvern College.
“Ben Parker is also going to be Under-18s who is a right-arm fast bowler from Worfield CC and also goes to Thomas Telford School.”
The 11 players will begin their winter programme on November 8 and, after a break for Christmas, continue through to April from which point it is hoped they can participate in a full schedule of Academy fixtures.
WORCESTERSHIRE CCC 2020-2021 ACADEMY INTAKE