Ashraf delights in PEPP experience
Moin Ashraf has lauded the Potential England Performance Programme for the impact it has had on his development as a fast bowler.
The Yorkshire paceman rose to prominence in the latter stages of 2010, claiming nine wickets in two first-class matches, including a maiden five-wicket haul against Kent.
Although the 20-year-old saw his first-team opportunities limited last year, he was chosen for the PEPP. The 13-man squad participated in a period of training at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough followed by a three-week training camp in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Ashraf, who signed a new deal with the White Rose in November, was also part of the bowling department that travelled to Chennai, India, to help improve their games.
“It’s been great, I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. There has been the strength and conditioning blocks that have been unbelievable in my development, I’ve loved them,” he told ecb.co.uk.
“The time out in Chennai, India, was a good experience, working with Dennis Lillie and the coaches out there. For my development it has been a wonderful experience.
“I’ve been working on my bowling action, trying to keep it as consistent as possible. There are a few things that have put me off balance as I come to the crease, I’ve started working on my run-up, trying to keep it as straight as possible and then coming in at an angle, also ensuring my front arm is not falling away.
“There are quite a few points I have been working on, but I have been working on them one at a time and trying to fit everything into that jigsaw puzzle.”
While the Bradford-born youngster was working hard in the sub-continent, there were significant changes happening at his home county.
Former overseas bowler Jason Gillespie, who took 259 wickets in 71 Tests for Australia, returned to Headingley Carnegie as first-team coach and Ashraf has already sought advice from the 36-year-old in order to continue improving his own game.
“Everyone knows how much of a Test legend he is and for me to have that experience around is a massive benefit,” he said.
“I’ve picked his brains, his coaching style is unique and different to others, but the key thing for me is I’m able to adapt to that and work with any sort of coach. I’ve listened to him and he is happy with the way my pre-season has gone in Barbados. Hopefully, I can start the season well.
“He says we are going to play aggressive but positive cricket, and that aggression is not going to be reckless. Hopefully the Yorkshire team of this season will be exciting to watch.”
Yorkshire have a number of seamers within their ranks, with the likes of Steven Patterson and Oliver Hannon-Dalby, who were heavily involved in Andrew Gale’s side’s third-place finish in 2010 but failed to build on their breakthrough campaigns last year.
Ryan Sidebottom and Ajmal Shahzad are likely to take the new ball against Kent next week, but Ashraf is determined to take his chance when it arises.
“I haven’t got any specific aims, I think it is important to keep grounded and to take my opportunity when it comes,” he explained.
“That might be at the start of the season, hopefully it is, but if it doesn’t come I will not get frustrated, I will just take my time and take each game as it comes.
“I like bowling in one-dayers and in Twenty20s, I seem to think I have a decent yorker and slower ball. Hopefully, they don’t overlook me for the limited-overs games and I can get that chance that I have been waiting for quite a while.
“I prefer the longer format because I think it is proper cricket. Sometimes in T20 cricket you can have a good four overs and you have won the game.
"But in the four-day format, you need to win sessions and it focusses more on concentration rather than just having a hit out or getting a couple of wickets here and there.”
Ashraf is still making his way in the professional game but, like any other youngster, is confident in his own ability.
“I have always thought to myself if I play well and play to the best of my ability, I will be in the starting line-up,” he added. “I’m a confident boy, but I need to be patient as well and hopefully my future is here at Yorkshire, I want it to be here.
“The coaches have restored the faith in me and I need to repay that faith, hopefully I will at the start of the season if selected.”