With the start of the 2014 season fast approaching, all thoughts turn to squad selection, fixtures and form. It’s evident that Trent Bridge is hungry for victory at home and away but there are some players hoping to achieve some personal goals this season.
A hectic international schedule means that there are an ever increasing amount of opportunities for younger players to emerge and progress in the first team. New signings often attract press attention but Nottinghamshire’s own academy is home to future stars and inspiring young prospects.
The players left Nottingham this week for their preseason tour but it’s definitely worth finding out who’s who before they return because there are some names and faces destined to become well known this year. Here are the prospects likely to be involved in Barbados over the coming matches:
Something of a cricket prodigy, Anuj Dal has been making waves since his school days by scoring 154 not out in one game and spending 168 minutes at the crease to score 114 not out later that season. Naturally, he was selected for the England Elite Player Development Program and has continued to progress as a real contender for future selection. The right-handed batsmen is destined to play a key role for the Second XI this season and it’s a safe bet that he’ll be a big name very soon. Born in Newcastle-Under-Lyme and an alumni of Nottingham High School, Dal is a home-grown talent and one we should all look forward to welcoming to the crease.
Brett Hutton might be a familiar face and name to some because he made his first-class debut for Nottingham in 2011 aged just 18. Since then Hutton has made several appearances for Notts, his most recent being September last year. Doncaster born, he later attended Worksop College where he received a cricket scholarship. Hutton has impressed with both bat and ball as a medium-fast bowler and aggressive lower order batsmen. After spending time in the England U19 Squad, he’s become a key player for the Second XI but this season could see him return to the First Team. With experience and time on his side, it’s entirely possible that Brett Hutton is on his way to becoming a very familiar face for fans.
Another name to listen out for this season is Sam Kelsall. Having played for the England U17s and U19s, Kelsall earned his stripes on the international scene but the Staffordshire born-batsman has been in the eye-line of Notts academy and coaching staff for quite some time. Kelsall made his first-class debut for Nottingham in 2011 and continues to hone his game in the Second XI. Kelsall is an exciting future prospect not only for his batting ability but for the way he’s proven himself as a reliable wicketkeeper and strong fielder. These skills have brought Kelsall to the attention of those within the club and it won’t be long before he is ready for a bigger stage, but it’s up to him to prove his value to the professional squad.
Since joining the academy aged 16, Luke Wood has attracted attention for his abilities and potential. After being called up to the England U19 squad for the tri-series in the UAE last December, Wood went on to secure a place in the U19 World Cup squad. A definite boost for his confidence, these crucial selections also proved that Wood is ready to extend himself and compete at higher levels. This season promises to be huge for the swing bowler, who has gained praise in the past for his ability to control the ball and challenge the opposition. Towards the end of last season he struck a formidable partnership with fellow academy graduate Sam Wood and it’s hoped that both players will progress to their full potential this season.
Sam Wood saw out the 2013 season as a Senior Pro in the Second XI and it’s likely that this year will see him continue to excel. Wood has skirted the periphery of the First Team for a few years now and has advanced through the ranks of Trent Bridge with impressive skill. In 2011 he replaced Samit Patel to make his debut for Notts, where he bowled four overs and conceded just eight runs. Wood will be hoping to emulate the progression of fellow Second XI graduates like Jake Ball, and given his performance last season that dream doesn’t look too far off becoming a reality.