ECB steps up fast-bowling programme

Clearly keeping an eye on the future, the ECB has decided to send six of the country's most promising fast bowlers to Florida for a three-week training camp. Maurice Chambers, Jonathan Clare, Jade Dernbach, Chris Jordan, Mark Turner and Chris Woakes will travel to the IMG multi-sport training facility in Bradenton to work on their strength and conditioning.

"This is going to be the toughest period of training they'll ever have," Kevin Shine, the ECB's fast bowling coach, told the Times. "They won't be going to the beach. These lads could be the next world-class bowlers to play for England and we want to treat them like Olympic athletes. We want them to be fitter, faster and stronger."

Shine stressed on the importance of knowing an individual's strength. In his estimation, many young fast bowlers broke down well before their peak because of bowling-related injuries. The six players will undergo three physical training sessions a day, supervised by former Ospreys rugby union coach Huw Bevan. "By the time they're finished, they'll be -- how can I put this nicely? -- they'll be enlightened," said Bevan.

Dernbach, 22, has been a regular in Surrey's one-day team for the last couple of seasons and broke into the County Championship side in June with a career-best 6 for 72. His Surrey team-mate Jordan, 20, has all the attributes a West Indian fast bowler and can qualify for England through an English grandmother.

Woakes, 19, was Warwickshire's leading wicket-taker this year with 49 and Clare, 22, had a good first full season for Derbyshire, taking 41 wickets at 26.19. Chamber, 21, and Turner, 24, are talented young fast bowlers who have had their share of injuries.

The six will also spend two weeks at the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai, under the tutelage of Dennis Lillee.

The ECB will also monitor the development of age-group players as part of the Specialist Skills Development Programme. "If there are any issues with their actions or their physical competencies, we can sort that out at an early age," said Shine. "The most vulnerable age group is 15 to 19 and we want to make sure that they develop technically and physically at a rate their bodies can accept. We used to do this from 16, but it makes sense to start younger."