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Brunnschweiler excited ahead of EDP series

England Development Programme (EDP) Under-17s coach Iain Brunnschweiler is looking for his players to make the most of their "exciting opportunity" as they face their Sri Lanka counterparts.

The EDP will play the tourists in a three-day encounter and three one-dayers, starting on Thursday 15 August.

And with many of the youngsters facing international opposition from their own age group for the first time, Brunnschweiler is looking forward to seeing how they acquit themselves.

"The series will give them such an exciting opportunity to play against the best players from another nation, which is not anything them or us as a coaching staff have experienced before," he told

"In this series they're going to play a three-day game, have a couple of days, then go into 50-over mode.

Fifteen-year-old seamer Matthew Fisher is one of those eligible for the EDP U17s that will be appearing for England U19s in the tri-series

"Transitioning between the longer and shorter formats of the game is clearly something they have to get used to."

As part of their preparations, the EDP U17s faced U19 sides from Pakistan and Bangladesh in 50-over games and, despite a defeat and an abandonment, Brunnschweiler was thrilled with how his side performed.

He said: “They played some excellent cricket against guys who are a bit older than themselves and, although we lost, the boys put in two fabulous performances and pushed them right to the wire. They'll have taken a lot of confidence and hopefully they will take that into the series with Sri Lanka."

For the coaching staff, the series will give them an indication of the level the current crop of youngsters are at, but it is not four victories that the former Hampshire wicketkeeper Brunnschweiler is looking for.

He added: “This series is not about us winning games of cricket. It's us having our long-term hats on and thinking what experiences do these guys need between the ages of 16 and 24 to be given the best chance of playing top-flight international cricket and be able to perform in an England team that is number one in the world. That is the goal of everything we do."

A number of those eligible for the EDP U17s will be unavailable for the series as they are part of the England U19 set-up, who are currently competing in the tri-series against Pakistan and Bangladesh. And the U17 coach believes this highlights just how effective the current system is.

"I think we've had six or seven guys who are still eligible to play 17s representing the 19s in full internationals in the last six months,” he said.

“If we were to put out an U17 national side in some sort of competition then I think we would stand on our own at the moment. It is a really strong age group.

“Ultimately this is about development for these boys. The fact all these guys are pushing up through the age groups means we are enhancing their development by giving them great opportunities to pit their wits and their skills against boys who are older than them.”

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