Leicestershire seamer Nathan Buck has been rewarded for an excellent 2010 season by being called up to the ECB’s Fast Bowling Programme.
Buck took 49 LV=County Championship wickets in his first full season on the Leicestershire staff and has been heavily involved with England age groups in the past. The promising paceman has played plenty of matches for England under 19s, including the World Cup call-up to New Zealand earlier this year.
The Fast Bowling Programme involves five week-long conditioning blocks at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough followed by three weeks in India working with ECB coaches alongside Dennis Lillee.
Leicestershire CCC bowling coach Lloyd Tennant was pleased to hear that Buck has won a place and feels that he is making excellent progress in his developing career.
He said: “Nathan has been on programmes before but this will be with more experienced bowlers and that will be a good experience for him. He has had a good rest from bowling and is looking very strong because he’s been working hard on the physical and fitness stuff.
“Last season was a dream start for him in many ways. To take 49 Championship wickets was brilliant but it is important not to expect him to better that next season. We just want him to continue to make progress as he has progressed brilliantly in his career so far.”
The 19-year-old will be on the programme alongside seven other fast bowlers, including Surrey seamer Stuart Meaker, who is the first player to be awarded the annual Harold Larwood scholarship.
The new scholarship has been created as part of the Fast Bowling programme following discussions between the Board and the surviving members of the Larwood family based in Australia. It will see Meaker gain a fantastic experience during three months of specialist coaching and playing Grade cricket in Australia.
Larwood was an outstanding fast bowler who took 78 test match wickets at an average of 28.35. He played in the famous ‘Bodyline’ series in 1932-33 and captured 33 wickets as part of England’s 4-1 win.
ECB Managing Director of England Cricket Hugh Morris is extremely thankful for the support given by the Larwood family and feels now is the perfect time to launch the scholarship.
He said: “Harold Larwood is rightly regarded as one of the greatest fast bowlers of all time and with an Ashes tour underway, we felt this was an appropriate time to honour Harold’s memory and inspire future generations of young pace bowlers to emulate his achievements.
“The scholarship will be managed by our National Lead Fast Bowling Coach Kevin Shine and provide an excellent opportunity for a young fast bowler to extend their cricketing education in Australia each winter.
“We are very grateful to the Larwood family for their co-operation and support and wish Stuart well when he departs for Australia for a three month period early next year.”
Buck and Meaker will be joined on the Fast Bowling programme by Glamorgan paceman James Harris, Nottinghamshire duo Andy Carter and Jacob Ball, Warwickshire’s Boyd Rankin and Gloucestershire left-armer David Payne, who was Buck’s new ball partner in the under 19 World Cup earlier this year.
It is an excellent opportunity for Buck to continue his development. The programme has provided a great platform in the past as several graduates have gone on to win further call-ups within the England set-up and there is no reason why that trend won’t continue.
Players who have recently taken part include Ashes Test squad member Steven Finn (England and Middlesex) as well as England Lions and Warwickshire bowler Chris Woakes.
Jade Dernbach (Surrey) and Maurice Chambers (Essex) have also been on the programme before and they, along with Woakes, are currently in Australia as part of the England Performance Programme.
Leicestershire batsman James Taylor is also part of that group, which is designed to
identify and develop players who have the potential to play for England.
The fifteen players are currently shadowing the full Ashes party and have therefore been training in Brisbane recently. They and start their first four-day fixture today against a Queensland XI and will then move onto Perth.