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Five named in England Academy and emerging player programme

1st June 2017

David Howells batting during international ball development session

Following the England open trial on 14th May, England Visually Impaired Cricket Team Head Coach Ross Hunter has selected two players for the first England academy, along with three players for the emerging player programme.

England Academy - players selected:

Sam Murray (no domestic club)
Darren Paddick (Surrey VICC)

Who are they?

Sam is a former international returning to the game after around eight years where his focus was on other sports. He is a former New College Worcester and Sussex Sharks player in the domestic game.

Darren is a former New College Worcester captain who also played for Eastern Vipers in the early 2000s. He returned to domestic cricket in 2016 for Surrey VICC where, despite having a lot less sight than in his previous time in the game, he has proved a skilled all rounder.

About the Academy programme

Players to receive:

* Individual & small group training
* Nutrition, strength and conditioning, physio and sports psychology support

Players to be invited to:

* England Squad Super twos fixtures
* Warm weather training in La Manga at the end of the year

Emerging Player Programme - players selected:

Asif Ali (Warwickshire Bears)
Hassan Ali (Warwickshire Bears)
David Howells (Northants Steelbacks)

Who are they?

Brothers Hassan and Asif Ali have played for the extremely successful Warwickshire Bears since 2011 in a side that has won countless National level trophies. Both are excellent all round cricketers, with Asif now considered to be one of the best bowlers in the country. Both are now in their early 20s and at the start of their careers they also played in the Northants Steelbacks side that won the BCEW BJMT Development Festival in 2012.

David Howells is easily the youngest player in the England programme at just 14 years old. He started playing national level cricket aged 11 for Northants Steelbacks and attended the ECB’s southern regional development centre for the full length of that programme.

* The Emerging Player Programme is for players who it is felt have the right attributes to make the Academy in the future but require support that is tailored to their needs. Their programmes will be completely individual and will help them to achieve their goals.

* Players will be invited to England Squad Super twos fixtures

After making these selections, England Head Coach Ross Hunter said: "This is a very positive step in England VI cricket. It was great to see the interest in the game at the trial and the quality was high.

"A number of players will be pushing for England caps in the coming years. Congratulations to all selected, the hard work begins now. Selection decisions were difficult. Unlucky to those that didn’t make it. We hope to see you at the next Talent Test in October after having a few more months to nurture your game.

"Finally, congratulations to John Cook who will be Head coach of the Academy and the EPP. Cookie has done an outstanding job in supporting me and the England players, which he will continue to do so, but will now get the opportunity to challenge his coaching skill with the next stars of England cricket.”