Ffion Wynne continues her profiles of some of the top future England prospects.
(Catch up with Part 1 here!)
3. Alex Travers
The great confidence of 16-year-old Alex Travers is remarkable for such a young age. Having played her county cricket at Surrey since the Under 11 age group, the winter of 2016/2017 has been her first in any England set-up, and her enjoyment in the squad is evident in her enthusiasm. “It was quite a big adjustment at first,” Alex explains, “but I learn so much from being around this environment, and I know exactly what I need to do to improve further from being here.”
She speaks highly of the set-up and the supportive nature of the coaching staff, demonstrating its importance in supporting the development of future England hopefuls. Similarly to Charlie Dean, Travers claims that the being a younger member of the squad doesn’t hinder the experience in the slightest, and that challenging herself against the best of her age will undoubtedly improve her skills.
Travers has also been included in the Regional Development Centre of the Surrey Stars, and is highly motivated to participate in the KSL during the next few years of her career. “It would be amazing to play in the Super League and I’d love to play for England eventually. Just from being involved in these camps over the past few months, I feel like I can improve so much,” Alex says.
Despite the high hopes for her future, Travers remains focused and is determined to keep enjoying her cricket as much as she currently does. Having made her way into Surrey’s first XI last summer, Travers’ clear enthusiasm for the game and willingness to learn will undoubtedly make her a regular performer this season, aiding her progression towards her KSL and England dreams.
4. Izzy Cloke
Kent’s young talent Izzy Cloke concludes the trio of 16-year-olds, but this winter already marks her third in any England set-up. This experience is evident in Cloke’s enthusiasm and confidence, as she describes her aim to fully establish herself in Kent’s first XI this summer, after playing her first two games last season. “It’s a really strong team, which made it quite daunting to begin with,” Cloke says, “but Lydia Greenway was captain and she was really helpful in making me feel included. I bowled three overs on my debut at Arundel, which went really well and gave me a lot of confidence.”
Last winter, Cloke emerged onto the Development Programme from the Under 15s, which she describes as initially quite difficult as many of the girls were much older, and had been in the programme together for a while. However, Cloke also states that the supportive nature of the coaches cannot be faulted in providing a friendly and welcoming environment, where the correct amount of pressure is applied without being too overwhelming for the younger members of the squad. Alongside her England experience, Cloke trains alongside Alex Travers in the Surrey Stars Development Centre.
As she is currently studying for her AS Levels, Izzy is firmly focusing on her cricketing and academic future. “Loughborough is definitely one of my university choices,” she explains, “because I really want to stay on an England programme, and it would be useful to combine that with a really good course, but I am looking at quite a few others at the moment.”
Further along the line, Cloke does aspire to be involved in the KSL, as her experience as a spectator watching the Stars demonstrated its status as a great competition, and would really allow her cricket to develop further. With high hopes to progress into the Senior Academy over the next few years, Cloke’s positivity and the maturity of her attitude suggests that her cricket will continue to go from strength to strength.