Second XI Coach Ian Westwood believes a young core of homegrown talent is vital for long-term success at Warwickshire and he hopes to see this crop take that next step.

Speaking at the Edgbaston Community Sports Ground, during the Second XI’s opening Championship fixture against Glamorgan, Westwood was optimistic about the club’s future with young players gaining opportunities alongside senior figures.

“In the first-team, there is competition for places, which has a knockdown to the Second XI,” the 39-year-old said.

“We should therefore have a nice blend of experienced players, who are trying to force their way into the first-team, but also some good Academy players who are making their way in the game.

“In this game, we’ve got Olly Stone, who is playing to help his recovery, but the knowledge he can pass on as a Test cricketer to some of these guys starting is brilliant.”

Westwood’s comments should be no surprise having embarked on a career that many in the Pathway and Academy are aspiring to follow.

After making his First Class debut in 2003, the Moseley CC product played all three formats, scoring 9,359 runs (16 First Class hundreds) and 15 wickets over 257 matches.

The left-hander became Captain of his home county in 2008, before handing over the reins two years later.

“I think he (Paul Farbrace) shares my philosophy that for Warwickshire to have long-term success, a spine of young homegrown talent is going to be important to us,” Westwood added.

“He’s fully supportive of my way of doing things, which is to trust our Academy system and give them as much opportunity as we can.

“We’ve got some good Academy players coming through and we’ve already seen the likes of Dan Mousley, Rob Yates, Jacob Bethell breaking through and there’s some more pushing behind.

“There’s good competition and I certainly believe there’s no age limit if they’re good enough. Hamza (Shaikh) is playing in this game and played his first at 13, he’s now 16, so he’s good games under his belt. We’re looking for all of them to impress when they get the chance.”

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