City Academy aiming to conquer fear of spin on India trip

Leicester City Cricket Academy are taking major steps to improve the techniques of young batsmen against spin bowling.

England's Test players showed plenty of frailties against quality spinners in the last few weeks as they slipped to a 3-0 series defeat against Pakistan.

But today, a party of 15 young players from the Academy fly out to India for 12 days of intensive work on playing spin.

They will be based at the Karnataka Institute of Cricket at Bangalore.

They will train with local bowlers, especially spinners, and have individual sessions, including video analysis, with specialist coaches.

City Cricket Academy director Don Bhagawati has arranged for two first-class batsmen – Karnataka captain Bharat Chipley and Manish Pandey, who is based at the Bangalore Academy – to talk to the touring party.

The group includes 15-year-old William Hunt, who has won a free scholarship on the trip.

He was picked out from a short-list as the most promising young player at the Academy by independent adjudicator Kevin Innes, the former Northamptonshire and Sussex all-rounder, who is now a coach.

Hunt, a wicket-keeper/batsman, has been playing at the Academy since the age of seven. He is so dedicated to the game that former Leicestershire all-rounder Laurie Potter organises early-morning practice sessions at Leicester Grammar School, where Hunt is a student.

Potter said: "Hunty is a student of the game. He opens the batting, he bowls off-spin and has developed a doosra, and he keeps wicket for the County under-15s.

"We have four or five lads who are very keen and come in at six o'clock on Thursday mornings and Hunty is very much a driving force behind that."

Bhagawati said: "The first player to win this prize in 2006 was Aadil Ali, who has made it to the County academy.

"It's a great learning experience to tour the sub-continent.

"There seems to be a fear of playing quality spin and, hopefully, this will go a long way towards players overcoming that."

The touring party comprises juniors (aged 13-14) and seniors (17-19).

Top young Leicestershire batsman Shiv Thakor, a student at Uppingham School, is also going to gain some extra practice.

The party will also include former Leicestershire opening batsman Trevor Ward, now a coach at Uppingham, who will exchange ideas on technique and conditions with the Indian coaches.

Article Taken from Leicester Mercury

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