Alleyne hails YC programme

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Head coach Mark Alleyne is making it his mission to continue the MCC’s rich history of developing outstanding young cricketers.

MCC have always been eager to help young talents reach the pinnacle of the game, with former Young Cricketers including notable names such as Sir Ian Botham, Phil Tufnell and Australia’s Mark Waugh.

Alleyne, who represented England in 10 one-day internationals between 1999 and 2000, speaks with enthusiasm regarding the current crop in the Young Cricketers’ programme.

“I absolutely love coaching at this level,” he told ecb.co.uk. “It's exciting to see so many prospects, and I aim to give them the tools to be the best they can be.

“From a good base, most things are possible, and the coaching is key.”

The MCC Young Cricketers gain experience from playing in the Second XI Championship, where they hone their skills rather than being stuck in the reserve and academy environment.

“For the MCC YCs it is crucially important as they can compete directly against the players that they need to go past,” added Alleyne.

“It is not an environment they aspire to as they need to be challenging to make first XI squads. But it’s a start and a motivator.

“Most of the players aspire to play for England, but it is important not to look too far ahead, because it is the more immediate process that is really relevant. Their time will come.

“Emerging talents put pressure on those with existing contracts and hopefully propel them to higher performance. This way the standard remains high and no-one stays complacent.”

Mark Alleyne

MCC head coach and former England international Mark Alleyne is keen to develop stars of the future through the Young Cricketers' programme

Alleyne enjoyed a distinguished county career with Gloucestershire and, therefore, is well placed to comment on how coaching has developed over time.

“While I was still playing I always thought the best coaches should be operating at academy level. Youth players now have access to good facilities and excellent coaches, and I personally didn't have that. I didn't have loads of time with a coach,” he said.

“Coaching today in general is broader and more complete.”

Although currently focussed on the future, Alleyne is naturally thrilled with the progression of the current national side.

“The threat from a generation of exciting young cricketers may help to keep us as the number one Test side in the world, but the current coaching team must take the credit for getting there,” he explained.

“It has been exciting to watch. I have had the privilege to see some of the preparation and they are very dedicated and thorough. Right through the team, players are contributing regularly and some are even becoming the best in the world at what they do.”