Northamptonshire’s Academy have had a busy winter and preseason preparing for a cricket filled summer.

Operating just below the Second XI, the academy sits at the top of the player pathway and has seen some expansion to align the entire setup closer to the professional first team.

The academy coaching team has grown significantly with new performance coaches Adil Arif and Shozair Ali joining to coach batting and bowling respectively. They will work closely with Ben Smith and Chris Liddle to ensure a consistent coaching message and style of play is delivered from the first team, right the way down the pathway.

As part of the growth of the academy, there has also been an expansion of where the Northamptonshire’s coaching reaches. The Luton Steelbacks Cricket Academy has been setup in collaboration with The Shared Learning Trust to provide 460 hours of first-class cricket coaching to students alongside their academic studies. David Ripley is overseeing this programme to ensure that the students are receiving the best training to move them closer to professional cricket.

Further to the Luton Steelbacks, the academy coaching also reaches further afield through the London Schools Cricket Association, Buckinghamshire and Cricket East. Performance coaches and strength and conditioning leads have been working closely with partners, such as the LSCA, to deliver expert cricket training around the county and beyond. Four players who are now in the academy setup came from the Buckinghamshire pathway, indicating the effectiveness and value of branching out to surrounding counties.

The academy and pathway players themselves have also been working had across the winter, with a tour to Durham to develop cricket skills and expand players’ experience. Both the academy and pathway players also had sessions at the ECB performance centre to use their international-standard facilities over the winter period.

All this work culminates in the academy starting their cricket season earlier this month, having already beaten Warwickshire and suffering tight defeats to Buckinghamshire and Somerset.

You can find full information on fixtures and results here: