England has sent four players to Sri Lanka either side of Christmas in the latest example of their desire to expose their young cricketers to Asian conditions. Scott Borthwick, from Durham, Essex’s Tom Westley, Ben Foakes, now at Surrey, and Will Tavare of Gloucestershire will play for clubs in Sri Lanka in the coming months having been identified by Graham Thorpe, the England Performance Programme (EPP) lead batting coach, and Peter Such, the lead spin bowling coach, as cricketers who would benefit from the experience.
Foakes, the highly-promising 21-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, will join up with Colts CC and 24-year-old batsman Tavare, who enjoyed a very promising first season, will play for Tamil Union in both the List A tournament in December and three-day first-class competition which begins on January 9.
Robert Croft, the former England and Glamorgan spinner, will travel to Sri Lanka to work with Foakes and Tavare for two weeks at the start of the programme.
Westley, who was especially effective in one-day cricket last summer, including scoring two centuries in the NatWest T20 Blast, will attend the EPP batting and spin camp in Colombo before playing for Bloomfield in both formats. Borthwick will only play first-class cricket for Chilaw Marians CC following his excellent summer with the bat. “I’m delighted that we are able to give these four young players the opportunity,” Such said. “They all really impressed us with their performances in county cricket over the summer, and are all high potential players, who we are keen to see develop.
“This winter in Sri Lanka will provide them with crucial exposure to playing in challenging sub-continental conditions and within a totally different culture and environment. We ran a similar programme three years ago, which featured Moeen Ali, so I have no doubt that this will be a hugely valuable experience for them and I hope that they make the most of the opportunity to learn and develop as players and people.”