Lancashire were delighted by this week’s selection of Mo Abid, a young leg-spinner from Ashton-under-Lyne, in the England under-19 squad that will head for Queensland next month for a quadrangular one-day series against Australia, India and New Zealand.
But they are still hopeful that Abid will be joined by two more Red Rose youngsters for the under-19 World Cup on home soil at the end of the summer.
Gavin Griffiths, a seamer from Ormskirk who made rapid strides last season, has missed out on the Australia trip after struggling with illness on the recent under-19s tour of Bangladesh.
But John Stanworth, Lancashire’s Academy director, hopes that he could still force his way back into contention for the World Cup with Alex Davies, the wicketkeeper-batsman from Darwen who has been ruled out of representative cricket this winter by knee surgery.
“It’s a while now since we had four players in the England under-19 squad in Andy Miller, Karl Brown, John Simpson and Steven Mullaney,” said Stanworth. “So it’s good news that we have three lads challenging again.
“We’re really pleased for Mo, because it reflects how hard he’s worked on adding the other parts to his game that you need to make progress these days as well as the talent for leg-spin bowling that we’ve always known he’s got. We had him bowling at the senior England team in the nets at Old Trafford as a 15-year-old a few years ago, and even then he had one or two of them in knots.
“He was brought to my attention as a 13-year-old playing in Ashton’s first team in the Central Lancashire League, and you could immediately tell that he had genuine skill. But things like his fielding, and just being more savvy with the ball, were the areas he had to improve on. The fact that England have picked him for this Australia trip shows they must have liked what they saw out in Bangladesh.”