Chambers thrilled by EPP selection
Essex fast bowler Maurice Chambers admits he was shocked by his call-up to the England Performance Programme squad for the tour of Australia.
Chambers has been included in a 16-man party that will be based in Australia in the lead-up to the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, through to the start of the third Test in Perth.
The Jamaica-born 23-year-old’s selection comes on the back of an impressive season in which he claimed 38 first-class wickets at an average of 24.
Yet he was still surprised to receive the good news when England’s touring squads were announced by the ECB last week.
"It came out of the blue," Chambers told ecb.co.uk. "But I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected.
"My focus at the start of the season was purely on Essex but I suppose my selection comes down to the way I have been playing.
"I got a call from David Parsons (ECB performance director) to tell me I had been picked and I just started jumping around the room.
"It is a massive step in my career and I’m really thrilled.
"It provides an opportunity for me to be around different players and to see how they go about their business and also to work under different coaches.
"It will help my development and hopefully it will take my game to the next level."
Chambers is no stranger to conditions Down Under, having spent several weeks in Brisbane at the start of the year as part of the ECB’s Fast Bowling Programme.
The young seamer operated under the tutelage of former Australia seamer Michael Kasprowicz and feels the help he received played a major part in his improved performances in 2010.
"The ECB sent me out to Brisbane from January to March and it went really well," he explained. "I learned that the more I bowl the better I get."
"Michael Kasprowicz is a brilliant coach and it was great to work with him. He didn’t want to get too technical, he just let me play club cricket for Queensland University and then worked with me on things he had seen during those games.
"I tried to keep up the good work when I came back for the start of the county season and it seemed to pay off."
ECB lead fast bowling coach Kevin Shine added: "Maurice has been on the Fast Bowling Programme for a while.
"He’s done a lot of work at Loughborough and we also sent him out to Florida for a conditioning camp in 2008.
"This year we felt, along with (Essex head coach) Paul Grayson, it was important that Maurice started to really work on becoming a smart bowler.
"He had done a lot of technical work and physical work, but we wanted to look at his game.
"I spoke to Dene Hills (ECB lead batting coach) and he mentioned Michael Kasprowicz and the fact he really used to work well with the Australian quicks.
"I gave Michael a call and really enjoyed what he had to say so we sent Maurice out to Brisbane as part of our overseas mentor programme.
"It was an opportunity for Maurice to go out there and fend for himself. When he came back there was an immediate change in his attitude.
"I obviously speak to county coaches on a regular basis and they were very complimentary about his progress.
"His statistics last season were excellent and were it not for a side injury he would have picked up a lot more wickets."
Although Chambers enjoyed a successful season on a personal level, he also suffered the disappointment of relegation from Division One of the LV= County Championship with Essex.
However, he is confident the club can bounce back at the first attempt next season.
"It was disappointing to go down to Division Two but we played some really good cricket at times this year," he said.
"We all believe that we are good enough to play in Division One so I don’t think it will be a surprise or a coincidence if we manage to get back up next year."