Young Coad faces trip of a lifetime— 23 January 2014
Junior professional Ben Coad will face biggest test of his adult life this week, when he travels to Australia for the first time for a six-week intensive training programme at the critically-acclaimed Darren Lehmann Academy based in Adelaide.
“My biggest challenge for this year is to work on my strength. I’m still growing and I need to get stronger, which will help me bowl quicker. I expect to play most of my cricket in the Second Team and I have also joined York in the Yorkshire League. They are a good team and are reigning champions. If I get the opportunity to play in the first team for Yorkshire, I’ll grab it. You never know where that can lead.”
Out of all the senior coaches wishing Ben well on his trip, First Team coach Jason Gillespie knows better than most what he can expect. Gillespie, who hails from Adelaide and has worked at the Academy in the past, believes the scholarship programme will become the award that every young Yorkshire player will want to win.
“Ben is the first recipient of the Kevin Armitage Scholarship and I can honestly say this will become the most sought-after award that every young Yorkshire player will be striving for in years to come,” said Gillespie.
During his six-week programme, Coad will work on his strength, fitness and play in a number of organised matches during midweek and be affiliated to a league side on a weekend in the highly competitive league programme in the Adelaide area.
“Cricket is paramount whilst I’m out there, but I’m looking forward to experiencing Australian life,” he said.
“Dizzy (Jason Gillespie, Yorkshire’s First Tem Coach), who is a bit of a legend in South Australia, is fixing me up with a Grade club so that I can play regular cricket at the weekend. I’m going out with Moin Ashraf, who is joining a grade club to help him find his form. I won’t be staying with Moin but we will no doubt be catching up with each other most days. I can’t wait to get started now and start packing my bags.”
Coad, who spent most of last season playing in the second team and Academy, made his senior debut in the Yorkshire Bank 40 competition and in the harsh environment of bowling to some of the best players in the country he had to learn the hard way about what it takes to succeed at the highest level of professional sport.
“Last season I never expected to break into the first team,” added Coad
“I was told it would be a year of just learning the game, playing the odd second team game and with the Academy. I was ahead of where I should have been and to play in the first team was great experience. It was nerve-wracking at the time, especially when you come running into bowl against some top class batters. I learnt very quickly that there is no room for error. Anything short or full, the batsmen pounced on it straight away. It is cruel, but you gain so much from being involved. It is not just about being on the field, you sit in the pavilion hanging onto every word from the senior players and that is just as important for my development.