Sri Lanka beckons for Surrey all-rounder Zafar Ansari who is relishing the chance to work with batting coach Graeme Thorpe when he flies out to the England Performance Programme (EPP) training camp in South Asia today.
Surbiton resident Ansari, who took 25 wickets and broke the 1,000-run barrier for the first time last season, scoring his maiden first-class century in the process, is one of 19 players forming the EPP.
Andy Flower led the squad with training blocks at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough before the three-week camp in Sri Lanka for batsmen and spin bowlers, and Ansari is looking to learn from the experienced heads on the trip.
“It will be good to get back together with Graeme Thorpe,” he said.
“He’s always looking to develop people’s games and he has a way of doing it so it’s negotiating that with him and finding the best way forward.
“Adam Lyth will be out there and so will Samit Patel, these guys have done a lot in cricket so if I can get stuff from them that will also be great.”
The 22-year-old former Hampton School head boy and Cambridge graduate is back in the England set-up after a four-year absence and highlights that testing his skills on sub-continental surfaces will be a huge benefit to his ever-expanding game.
“Playing on different wickets is something that people always talk about, I have got to know Moeen Ali a little bit, last winter he was in Sri Lanka and spoke about how important that process is in terms of his bowling, and also with playing spin.
“I’ve been out of the system for a while now, even when I played for England under-19s I came in late because I was at university at that point and I prioritised my A-Levels over cricket.
“I think they’ve always kept an eye on me – there is an element of newness about it, which is nice but it’s also slightly daunting.”
Image courtesy of Surrey County Cricket Club, via YouTube, with thanks