Graveney hails EPP
England chairman of selectors David Graveney commended the England Performance Programme for their endeavours before their final match, a four-day game against a mixture of first-class Sri Lankan and Indian opposition, on Tuesday December 11, at the MRF Academy ground in Chennai.
Graveney travelled to India from Sri Lanka to look at the work of the EPP in India and check on the form of the players. He also contributed to a team session on the selection process for England teams.
“The players have worked extremely hard for the past two weeks in India,” he said. “There are some very talented individuals here, and it’s great to see their dedication and determination."
EPP drew their rain-affected first match in Chennai against an MRF Academy XI. Rain caused an abandonment of play on day two, and as a result, the remaining day was used largely as extra batting practise for players.
Having made 358 for four in their first innings with both James Hildreth (136) and Jonathan Trott (114) making centuries, rain put paid to any play on day two.
On the third and final day, the EPP put the home side into bat and bowled them all out for 121.
Heading into the final session, the EPP declared on 88 for two, leaving themselves 23 overs to bowl out the MRF side, resulting in a draw, although England won on first-innings totals.
The England U19 pace bowler, Steve Finn, was selected for the game and took two wickets.
Andy Pick, the U19 coach, who has arrived to offer further advice and encouragement to the U19 members of the party, has been watching with interest as he prepares for the U19 world cup in Malaysia early in the New Year.
On Thursday the EPP squad was joined by newly-appointed ECB performance director David Parsons, who will also oversee the spin bowlers following the departure of Ashley Giles.
Parsons was very impressed with the evident development of the squad and the commitment they have demonstrated during the camp.
“I’m really impressed with the work ethic of all the players," he said. "They seem very focused on improving their games and are looking forward to finishing off with a positive performance.”
Training sessions and other plans have had to be fairly flexible as a result of the weather in south-east India, with days off being re-arranged to make best use of dry spells between the unseasonal rains. Extra practises have been scheduled in and extra gym sessions added on rainy days.
EPP captain Tim Ambrose said: “It’s been fairly frustrating – the last thing you expect is to come to India and be rained off. But all the lads have been flexible and gone really hard in the gym when we haven’t been able to get outside.”
Simon Timson, the ECB science and medicine manager, has arrived on his way to Sri Lanka to contribute to the work of the science and medicine support team in India and to look at some experimental work being developed.