Warwickshire’s move to open up its youth pathway system by accepting video trial footage from aspiring cricketers has been hailed a success after the pilot found several exciting new prospects.

Last September the Club revolutionised its selection process by encouraging youngsters to submit batting or bowling video for assessment by the coaching staff.

We’re the first professional cricket club to introduce such a system.

Previously only local clubs, schools and cricket organisations could nominate players so this move opens up our selection processes.

The move follows PhD research – co-funded by the Club and Birmingham City University – to identify how bias and a lack of objectivity can impact selection decisions.

In total we received 236 video submissions from prospects wanting to join our boys U13-U18s set-up of which 141 were from youngsters we’d either not heard from before or hadn’t tried out for at least three years. 

Sixty were selected to join five coaching sessions between October and December with 10 making it onto our county pathway structure.

A further 30 boys have been offered a place in development centre squads which feed into our county age group cricket.

Warwickshire’s High Performance Manager Paul Greetham, said: “That’s 10 boys we’ve never seen before now in our county youth squads. If you consider there’s about 70 boys across the under-13 to under-18 squads, that’s a great result.

“The process has unearthed some real gems – and remember these are teenagers who to this point have had no county background or coaching.

“They have huge potential. If we’d run traditional trials then the chances are we wouldn’t have found these prospects. And who knows they could go on to be star performers for the Club.”

We’re looking to expand our new trials process to include boys in younger age groups and also for the girls pathway system.

Tom Brown, whose PhD research at Birmingham City University was the catalyst for the new talent identification project, added: “The new process allows for coaches to spend time getting to know players’ developmental needs, including understanding their backgrounds and cultures as well as collecting objective talent ID data such as players’ maturation status. 

“It’s a holistic approach to coaching with a focus on really getting to know the children because we shouldn’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach.

“We launched the scheme in a bid to unearth these gems from across Warwickshire, players who’ve never before tried out or perhaps felt excluded. It’s been really encouraging and shows the Club is reaching potential new stars of the future.”

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