The Class of ’23 have been inducted into Warwickshire's elite youth development system with 20 exciting teenagers looking to realise their cricketing dreams at the Club.

A total of eight players have been retained or recruited into our Academy with a further 12 on our Emerging Player Programme (EPP) for some of the best raw talent in the region.

The Academy squad have all played 2nd XI matches for the Club with several, including keeper George Maddy (16) and better Kai Smith (17) also seeing first team action in last season’s Royal London Cup.

They’ll be looking to follow in the footsteps of Hamza Shaikh, Amir Khan and pace bowler Che Simmons who all stepped up from the Academy ranks this year to be handed their first professional contracts.

High Performance Manager Paul Greetham has high hopes they can carve successful Bears careers.

He said: “We’re continuously raising the bar with our Academy; it’s an exciting time for them and us.

“We have a really talented crop of young players and we’re working with them on all aspects of the game, from the technical, tactical, physical and mental side to the lifestyle awareness that comes with being a professional sportsperson.

“We’re seeing some sustained success now with players moving through the Academy onto the professional staff. That’s really encouraging.”

This year the Emerging Player Programme includes boys aged from 13 to 17 who’ve been identified as talented prospects from various age group squads.

Some of those will join the Academy players on a tour of Zimbabwe in February to further their development and expose them to different wickets, climates and opponents including the Zimbabwe U19s.

Greetham added: “One of the most important things is the positive relationships we have with the boys’ families, schools, cricket clubs and colleges.

“They are supportive of what we’re trying to achieve: to give them every chance of making it as professional cricketers, to expose them to the highest possible standards, whilst ensuring they stay grounded and focused on their education.

“The whole team is looking forward to developing the squads and seeing them achieve their goals.”

For more information on our Academy players, click here.

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