Teenagers from Warwickshire’s Academy and Emerging Player Programme faced some of Sri Lanka’s most exciting young talent during a winter training tour of the subcontinent.

The boys played four T20s and a two-day red ball game against a Western Province U23 XI side featuring several U19 internationals and first class men’s players.

It’s the first time in the Club’s history that boys and girls from the youth ranks have toured overseas together. The girls faced an U17 Western Province side, with guest appearances from the Sri Lanka U19 captain and other internationals.

The 11-day tour tested both squads on unfamiliar surfaces against top quality spin bowling in 33-degree heat.

And it gave them an opportunity to train at some of the island’s leading outdoor cricket facilities while the rain persisted back home.

Warwickshire High Performance Manager Paul Greetham said several members of the men’s senior squad have previously used the Academy tour as a platform to progress into the professional game.

And he expects more will follow in their footsteps having benefited from the trip.

He said: “Senior pro’s have ‘bounced’ from this trip into the professional game with players citing the importance of such a trip in their development. I have no doubt the same will occur here after what has been a fantastic 11 days.

“I am confident the same will be said of some of the girls, as we enter a new professional era in women’s cricket from 2025 onwards.

“The tour affords a chance to test skills under the duress of heat and humidity, as well as surfaces and style of play alien to them up to this point in their development

“The coaches also gained a great deal of contact time at outstanding training and match play grass facilities, to work with and observe players in these conditions.”

The boys squad trained at Tamil Union CC’s P. Sara Stadium with matches hosted at Nondescripts CC – home to Kumar Sangakarra and other Sri Lankan greats – and Bloomfield Cricket Club.

The girls were brilliantly hosted by the Mercantile Cricket Association’s first class ground for three of their matches, finishing at the P. Sara Stadium, a Test and ODI venue.

Players also got the chance to visit the beautiful Galle International cricket stadium and visited Vidyaraja Maha Vidyalaya School, Colombo, to help coach local youngsters and present them with some Warwickshire training kit.

“It’s important on trips like this to also take time to support local communities,” added Greetham, “and the day we spent coaching at the school was a highlight. I hope we’ve inspired some of them to progress in cricket – and become Bears fans abroad!”

**EPP players Reuben Majithia and Ben Blakemore contributed to this report**