England youngsters set for busy winter
England's second tier of players will experience a busy winter after the Performance Programme schedule and squads up until Christmas were confirmed. The main 17-man squad, which includes call-ups for Surrey pair Jason Roy and Tom Maynard plus Lancashire's left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan, will train in Loughborough during November before being split onto two trips depending on their roles.
The batsmen, spinners and wicketkeepers will head to India while the fast bowlers will be based at Potchefstroom in South Africa. Meanwhile, another 13-man squad of players below the main EPP level will also train at the National Academy in Loughborough before heading to either Sri Lanka or India for more intensive development. There will then be a full Lions tour to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2012 with that party due to be named in December.
The two squads emphasise the current depth in English cricket with seven of the main EPP squad having already played international cricket including Jonny Bairstow, Scott Borthwick and Chris Woakes who will head to India for the one-day series next week plus Alex Hales and Jos Buttler who have will join for the Twenty20.
Of those who have yet to represent England, Maynard and Roy have been rewarded for their part in Surrey's resurgence. Maynard scored 1022 runs in the Championship and was the club's leading run-maker in the Friends Life t20, while Roy was Surrey's most successful batsman in the CB40 with 585 runs. Meanwhile Kerrigan, who had a brief spell with the Lions earlier in the summer, played a key role in Lancashire's Championship success including figures of 9 for 51 against Hampshire.
There is also a strong crop of fast bowlers which includes Ajmal Shahzad despite his difficult season for Yorkshire where he took 25 wickets at 41 in the Championship. Boyd Rankin, the Ireland pace bowler rated as the finest on the county circuit by Marcus Trescothick, is also part of the squad as is Nathan Buck from Leicestershire.
"The England Performance Programme provides an excellent opportunity for those players identified as having considerable talent to train together in an England environment throughout the winter and further develop as cricketers," David Parsons, the performance director, said. "This is an exciting group of young cricketers with all but three players selected for the England Performance Programme this winter having represented England Lions or England this year.
"We recognise the need to develop a pool of players who are all capable of playing key roles in international cricket when the need arises and this programme allows us to continue working with those identified as having the ability to perform at the highest level.
The other 13-man squad - a third rung in English cricket - includes Tymal Mills, the Essex pace bowler, who is considered to have the potential of bowling very rapidly and Middlesex's Toby Roland-Jones who has been on the selectors' radar this season but has struggled with injury.
"This programme allows us to work with a group of players who have shown considerable promise both in age group cricket and in county cricket," Parsons said. "Batsmen and spin bowlers will have training blocks in both Loughborough and Sri Lanka as well as a seven week match play opportunity in Sri Lanka giving players a useful opportunity to develop their skills in sub-continent conditions.
"The fast bowlers in the group will undertake a conditioning block in Loughborough before a training camp in India," he added. "This has been a key stage in the development of a number of young fast bowlers who have gone to represent England Lions and England with Steven Finn, Stuart Meaker, Jade Dernbach and Chris Woakes all benefiting from this programme in recent years."
England Performance Programme Jonny Bairstow, Scott Borthwick, Danny Briggs, Nathan Buck, Jos Buttler, Alex Hales, James Harris, Simon Kerrigan, Tom Maynard, Stuart Meaker, Boyd Rankin, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ajmal Shahzad, James Taylor, James Vince, Chris Woakes
Development squad Moeen Ali, Moin Ashraf, Karl Brown, Varun Chopra, Matthew Coles, Matthew Dunn, Tymal Mills, Jigar Naik, Stephen Parry, Toby Roland-Jones, Alex Wakely, Luke Wells, Adam Wheater