Nottinghamshire marked their first day back of pre-season training by tying up three of their most promising youngsters on long-term contracts.
Sam Kelsall, Sam Wood and Brett Hutton, who made their first team debuts last season, have signed two-year deals after graduating from the club’s academy.
The trio, all aged 18, have represented England Under 19s and are hopeful of making the squad for the Under 19 World Cup in Australia next August.
Hutton was in the Notts side that took on the MCC in the Champion County fixture in Abu Dhabi at the end of March. Wood deputised for Samit Patel against Lancashire following a mid-match England call-up, and Kelsall featured in an LV= County Championship game against Durham.
Director of cricket Mick Newell has been impressed with their development and, in handing out the pro contracts, paid credit to his back-room staff.
He said: “All three players showed some promise last season and it is pleasing to take players on to our professional staff who have been in our academy since they were 13-year-olds.
“It is a credit to our academy director Chris Tolley and the specialist coaches that work with him that these players have made the transition.”
The deals come after similar ones for Jake Ball and Scott Elstone last term as the county continues its policy of marrying home-grown talent with first team imports.
Newell, who has also earmarked England Under 17 duo Tom Rowe and Simon Webster as ones to watch, added: “It’s encouraging to see players at different age groups with strong attributes.
“Developing more of our own players is a key element of our cricket strategy, but we keep an eye on the entire player market.
“Anyone that graduates from the academy and signs professional terms has to do so on merit and not simply because they were born locally.”