Warwickshire close to signing Che Simmons, 17-year-old dubbed 'new Jofra Archer'
Barbadian fast bowler has UK passport and impressed on trial with 2nd XI
Warwickshire look set to pull off something of a coup in signing Che Simmons, a young fast bowler who has been dubbed the "new Jofra Archer".
Simmons, a 17-year-old seamer, was born and raised in Barbados. But he also holds a UK passport through his father and, having been recommended to Warwickshire's director of sport, Paul Farbrace, by fellow Barbadian Ottis Gibson, was invited to play a few games for Warwickshire's 2nd XI as a trialist.
Having made an excellent impression, Simmons is expected to be offered a deal which might well include some type of scholarship in order that he can complete his education in the UK. He currently attends Combermere School, which has a rich history of producing top players. As well has current West Indies Test captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, Wes Hall, Clyde Walcott, Frank Worrall and Chris Jordan also attended the school. So did the singer, Rihanna.
A fast bowler with a beautiful smooth run-up and action, Simmons has represented Barbados Under-15s and came to prominence by claiming all 10 wickets in an innings while playing for the Franklyn Stephenson Academy. He finished with the remarkable figures of 10 for 16 from 5.3 overs. Only two of the runs he conceded came off the bat.
While good news for Warwickshire and, potentially, England, it might be seen as another setback for cricket in the Caribbean. While Archer and Jordan are the most high-profile cricketers to have opted for England ahead of Barbados in recent years, Warwickshire have another young Barbadian in Jacob Bethell on their staff. Some at Warwickshire believe Bethell, a left-arm spinner and batter, is the best young player the club has had since the emergence of Ian Bell.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo