Lancashire fast bowler Gavin Griffiths is preparing to jet off with the England under 19s squad on a tour to South Africa which county coach Peter Moores believes will play an instrumental part in his development.
Griffiths, a 19-year-old out of the Ormskirk club in the Liverpool competition, signed his first professional contract at Old Trafford earlier this winter alongside Alex Davies, Luis Reece and Arron Lilley.
He has yet to play a first-team match, but has impressed in the seconds and already has nine international appearances for the under 19s under his belt alongside a number of other appearances for them against either the Unicorns A or other county second XI’s in their Twenty20 competition.
Griffiths will be no stranger to South African opposition having played five times against their under 19s side whilst on tour in England in the summer of 2011.
In the last two seasons, he has taken 42 wickets for Lancashire seconds in all forms of the game. His best haul of 14.4-3-58-5 came in a three-day friendly against Sussex at Hove in September of 2011.
“I think it’s a really good opportunity for Gav because it will be really tough cricket, very tough cricket,” explained Moores. “He’s going to South Africa to represent his country at under 19s level, which is a huge privilege and brings pride with it as well. There will be a level of pressure that goes with that too.
“I’ve been really impressed with him. We’ve had him down (in the nets) since the end of the season. He’s starting to embrace being Gavin Griffiths, not what somebody else wants him to be. He’s relaxed into what he does well and has just played the game.
“He’s started to look like he’s maturing as a player. He’s obviously got talent. I’m hoping he goes out there and has a really good trip, which will give him confidence going into the season.”
England, captained by Leicestershire batsman Shiv Thakor and coached by Tim Boon, play two four-day Test matches and five one-day internationals in South Africa as well as a warm-up match for each format.
The first Test will be at the iconic Newlands ground in Cape Town, starting on January 27. The fifth ODI will also be at Newlands on February 21.
ENGLAND SQUAD: Shiv Thakor (Leicestershire, captain), Tom Barber (Hampshire), Ed Barnard (Worcestershire), Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire), Harry Finch (Sussex), Ryan Gibson (Yorkshire), Gavin Griffiths (Lancashire), Miles Hammond (Gloucestershire), Callum Jackson (Sussex), Josh Shaw (Yorkshire), Tom Shrewsbury (Gloucestershire), Dominic Sibley (Surrey), Olly Stone (Northamptonshire), Jonny Tattersall (Yorkshire), Kishen Velani (Essex).
Photo (c) Simon Pendrigh