Ryan Davies linked up with two of his new Somerset team-mates at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough this week, joining Ben Green and George Bartlett at an England Under-19s training camp.
The trio will head for Colombo next week for a triangular tournament against India and Sri Lanka that will complete their preparation for the ICC Under-19s World Cup which is due to begin in Bangladesh in January.
That will continue a hectic spell for Davies since his move to Taunton from Kent on a three-year contract.
He has only just returned from Dubai, where he and Nottinghamshire’s Tom Moores, the other wicketkeeper in the Under-19s squad, did some specialist work with Bruce French, the England wicketkeeping coach.
“It has been busy, but I’m not complaining,” said Davies, who turned 19 on November 5, and made his first eight senior appearances for Kent last summer.
“The UAE was very good. It was strange because going into that environment, you feel like you’ve not really earned being there. But the lads there were brilliant. They got us involved and made us feel welcome. Obviously the experience of working with Frenchy was first class. He worked us hard as well. I don’t think we had a day off out there – maybe a couple of hours in the afternoon, but we worked hard every day.”
French was in Dubai working with England’s senior squad and also the Performance Programme which precedes an England Lions series against Pakistan A next month – with the Overton twins both hoping for selection.
Ben Foakes of Surrey and Worcestershire’s Joe Clarke are the other keepers on the EPP, and Clarke only turned 19 in May. Like Davies, they are good enough batsmen to be regarded as genuine allrounders.
“It was good to watch them work as well, and see where they’re at,” Davies added. “It almost pushes you to try to get to that level and hopefully be in that position in a few years time. I had some good experience with Kent last summer which made me want it a bit more, having been exposed to it. I want that again.”
But first the priority for Davies, as for Green and Bartlett, is the trip to Sri Lanka, after which England will confirm a 15-man squad for the World Cup.
Davies has been a regular in the Under-19 team since the last World Cup in 2014, playing home and away series against Australia this year.
Green also earned selection for that trip, even though he was in the school year below Davies – he only turned 18 in September, and will have to juggle his cricket with A-level studies this winter. He will also have to decide whether to shave off the moustache he has been growing throughout Movember, to raise money for Exeter School.
Bartlett is even younger, and has been fast-tracked into the squad for Sri Lanka after his impressive performances for Millfield School, Somerset’s Second XI and also in the ECB’s Super Fours tournament for the country’s leading Under-17s.
“I’ve known Ben Green for a while,” said Davies. “He’s a very good player and one of the hardest workers in the team physically. I haven’t really met George, I’d never even played against him, and now he’s in this environment. He seems to have settled in well. It’s good to meet people I’m going to be spending a lot of time with down in Somerset. Hopefully we’ll all be in the Somerset first team together at some time in the future.”
England Under-19 winter touring schedule 2015-16
- 3 December – depart for Sri Lanka for triangular tournament (all matches at R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo)
- 8 December: warm-up match
- 11 December: v India
- 14 December: v Sri Lanka
- 15 December: v India
- 18 December: v Sri Lanka
- 21 December: tournament final
- 14-20 January: training camp in Dubai
- 26 January – 14 February: ICC Under-19 World Cup, Bangladesh
Pictured are: Ben Green, Ryan Davies and George Bartlett.
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