Plans under way for Neal Abberley memorial match

Warwickshire’s former cricketers are planning a Memorial Match to honour Neal Abberley, the former county batsman and coach, who died in August.

The match is still at the planning stage but it is being organised by Jason Ratcliffe, the new chairman of the Warwickshire Old County Cricketers Association, and it is likely to be staged at Knowle & Dorridge, Abberley’s local club, late in the season between the current Warwickshire first team and a side of former stars.

Ratcliffe is seeking sponsorship for the match which he hopes will be a joint fund-raiser for WOCCA and Neil Carter, Warwickshire’s beneficiary in 2012.

If the match is a success Ratcliffe hopes that it will become an annual event and a fitting tribute to Abberley who was WOCCA’s chairman when he died.

Warwickshire are still considering a permanent memorial to Abberley at Edgbaston but have yet to decide whether to rename the indoor centre at the ground after him.

England batsman Ian Bell believes that renaming the centre after his mentor would be a popular move and he even attended a recent WOCCA committee meeting to make his views known.

“I think naming the indoor cricket centre after Neal is the right thing to do,” Bell said. “I can’t understand why it hasn’t happened already to be honest.

“I know there are political things with the club looking for naming rights for the ground but I don’t see why that should have a bearing on the indoor centre.

“Anyone who is Warwickshire through and through and is connected with the club thinks it is the obvious thing to do and it would be nice if could happen.”

Meanwhile, Warwickshire pace bowler Shozair Ali will continue his fairytale rise from parks cricket to prospective county cricketer when  he makes his debut for England Under-19s on their tour to Bangladesh next month.

Barely four years ago Ali  was playing for his father’s side Azad at Calthorpe Park in the shadow of Edgbaston in the Birmingham Parks League.

But he was recommended to Warwickshire and within a year was opening the bowling for England Under 15s at Lord’s.

Ali, who now plays club cricket for Moseley in the Birmingham League, is a member of Warwickshire’s Academy at Edgbaston.

Having represented  England Under-17s and Warwickshire’s Second XI in recent seasons, Ali  has now stepped up to England Under-19s and been included in a 15-man tour party for a tour which includes seven one-day internationals, the first in Chittagong on January 20.

The England Under-19 tour party will be captained by Adam Ball of Kent and includes eight players who featured in last season’s series against South Africa, with Worcestershire all-rounder Aneesh Kapil among them.

Ali and Kapil, along with the Nottinghamshire trio of Brett Hutton, Sam Wood and Sam Kelsall, were all team-mates in the Midlands Under-15 side that competed in the 2008 Bunbury Festival at Sedbergh School in Cumbria.

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