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Redfern on a mission

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Dan Redfern is hoping to use England Under-19s’ tour of South Africa as the launchpad for another successful domestic season.

The off-spinning all-rounder made great strides in 2008, establishing himself as one of the key components of the England side while forcing his way into the Derbyshire 1st XI on a regular basis.

Long since acknowledged as a promising talent in his home county, Redfern enhanced his burgeoning reputation with innings of 151 and 79 not out in successive U19 Tests against New Zealand last summer.

He also made a composed unbeaten 69 in one of his four LV County Championship appearances, and topped Derbyshire’s batting averages in the NatWest Pro40.

Redfern, 18, lands in Cape Town with the rest of the U19 squad today, the start of a month-long tour during which he intends to develop his game further.

“The year 2008 was a great one for me because I got some first-team runs under my belt, signed my first professional contract and was a regular in the England Under-19 team,” said Redfern.

Dan Redfern

Dan Redfern is keen to carry his fine form into the South Africa tour - and beyond

“It is important that I continue that by starting 2009 well on the tour of South Africa.

“This will hopefully keep me in the Under-19 team and allow me to approach my first full county season a better player for the experience and in good form.”

Redfern can expect to feature prominently on a tour consisting of five one-day internationals, two Twenty20s and a Test against South Africa U19s.

He will be accompanied by county team-mates Tom Poynton and Atif Sheikh, although they have yet to win their U19 caps.

“Getting on the Under-19 winter tour was one of my primary objectives for the season and I was absolutely delighted and extremely excited when the squad was announced,” said wicketkeeper Poynton, who is 19.

“I have played England age-group cricket before and it is always a real honour to represent my country, but the Under-19s is the pinnacle and the most difficult to break into.

“Now the start of the tour has arrived and I can’t wait for the action to begin. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to experience foreign conditions and that can only be of great benefit, both in terms of my batting and glovework.”

The call-up for 17-year-old left-arm pace bowler Sheikh came shortly after he signed a professional contract at Derbyshire.

He said: “Breaking into the Under-19 team and earning a professional contract were both achievements that I have been targeting, but them coming so quickly was well beyond my expectations.

“South Africa has always looked to be a good place for a fast-bowler because the ball swings prodigiously, often to devastating effect.

“My first aim is to earn a place in the starting line-up, then the challenge will be to control the swing, bowl with good pace and in good areas, and hopefully make a real impression.”

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