Whether you are a player, parent, coach or supporter of Warwickshire Youth Cricket, I hope that you will be interested to read how our Academy and Emerging Player Programmes operate, and the underlying beliefs and principles that underpin what we do at this very special club.
I first walked through the gates at Edgbaston as an 18 year old back in 1992 and was immediately struck by the history and tradition that surrounds this great club. Back then I had hopes and dreams of playing for The Bears and ultimately for England and was fortunate enough to fulfil both as a player. I also enjoyed some good years as Head Coach at Warwickshire, immediately after I retired as a player, and back then my focus was very much on the first team and winning trophies. Having now returned to Edgbaston as Sport Director I still want us to win trophies but this new role also gives me the opportunity to look at the whole of the sporting side of the organisation, including the Senior Men’s team and Women’s team, the Player Pathway including the Academy and EPP through to boys and girls age group cricket. Our ultimate vision is to be The Best Cricket Business in the World, and in order to achieve that we need to make sure that our entire Cricketing structure is designed in such a way as to be able to deliver sustained success.
We set ourselves high standards at Warwickshire and in 2017 we did not necessarily meet those standards at the senior level in both the County Championship and the One Day Cup, however in the T20 Blast we saw the impact that our young players can have with the emergence of Ed Pollock and some match winning performances for Aaron Thomason. Our senior squad as a whole is currently in transition and with players who have served us well over the years either retiring or moving on this will inevitably provide opportunities for our younger players. In 2017 we saw first class debuts for George Panayi, Sunny Singh and Henry Brookes plus more regular opportunities for Matt Lamb and Andy Umeed all of whom are graduates of our academy.
We have a proud history at this club and challenge ourselves to continue to produce homegrown talent not just for Warwickshire County Cricket Club but also for England and our Player Pathway programmes are integral to that goal. In 2017 we invested more resources than ever in our youth programmes and will again in 2018, and I look forward to seeing the next generation of young players running out at Edgbaston either for Warwickshire or the Birmingham Bears in years to come.