JAMES TAYLOR TELLS US WHO TO LOOK OUT FOR THIS SEASON...
Ex England and Nottinghamshire batsman, James Taylor, picks out his five County Championship players to watch in 2017.
Joe Clarke, 20, Worcestershire
“I’ve been a little surprised that his form hasn't been that great with the Lions this winter. But the way he wants to learn the game, and his overall mental attitude, has really impressed me when I’ve seen him on and off the field.”
Liam Livingstone, 23, Lancashire
“I’ve commentated on him a few times now. I’ve been really taken with his amazing hand-speed and shot selection. There’s clearly talent behind it all. He got back-to-back hundreds in an England Lions game in Sri Lanka, which is a great effort.”
Tom Abell, 23, Somerset
“He is very young to be a county captain. Somerset obviously see something in him. He’ll learn a hell of a lot from that experience – whether it’s a good or a bad one. I’m sure he’s a good player, but at that young age he won’t know his game as well as he will later. I captained Leicestershire and the Lions at 21. It’s a daunting thing captaining guys who played much more cricket and probably know the game better than you. My advice is to get good people around you who you trust – that’s really important.”
Amar Virdi, 18, Surrey
“I first saw this lad in the nets at Loughborough when I did some mentoring with England Under-19s this winter. He’s a lovely off-spinner who’s worked with a lot with Saqlain Mushtaq. I was incredibly impressed with the pace he bowled at, and how much he spun it. And from speaking to people around him, it’s clear he loves the game.”
Josh Poysden, 25, Warwickshire
“Josh bowled his leggies at us in the nets over in Australia during the last World Cup. I think he’s a really nice bowler – although more in one-day cricket at the moment.” [Poysden also took a catch in an Ashes Test, off Moeen Ali to dismiss Mitchell Starc, while fielding as a substitute at Edgbaston in 2015.]
James Taylor was speaking at the PCA Rookie Camp, sponsored by the Tom Maynard Trust. It is for first year professionals from the first-class counties, MCC Young Cricketers and England Women's Academy and aims to prepare them for life as a professional cricketer. The Rookie Camp, now in its seventh year, includes sessions on media, anti-corruption, discipline, gambling addiction, agents and contract negotiations and the importance of all players having a Personal Development plan to help the prepare for life after cricket.