Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s Academy has long been a source of pride for the county, having produced an array of talent for both the domestic game and England.
The White Rose have seen 20 cricketers graduate from their Academy and go on to play international cricket, along with a further 73 players moving up to play First-Class cricket.
Given the Club’s track record of developing talent, it’s probably fair to assume the current setup are well on their way to bringing on the next big talent. In a new feature, ‘One to Rise’, we speak to some of the Club’s current Academy intake as they prepare for the 2020 season, starting with wicket-keeper-batsman Harry Duke.
18-year-old Duke said: “I joined the Academy in 2017 so I’ve been in it for a few years now. It’s improved my cricket so much, the coaching that you get from Richard Damms, Ian Dews, Rich Pyrah and all the way up to training with the first team. It’s so good to just have all of these experiences.
“Playing for the Academy on Saturdays has definitely improved everyone’s cricket.”
Duke played in 23 fixtures for the Yorkshire Academy in 2019, scoring 325 runs and claiming 35 fielding dismissals, primarily whilst keeping wicket. His performances caught the eye of England selectors, leading to an international call up for the Young Lions and Duke is now set to play his part for his country in the ICC Under 19s World Cup in South Africa this month.
“It’s a massive honour getting selected for your country at any level.
“To be selected in the World Cup squad is great. We’ve got a really good depth in the squad and have hopefully got a good chance of going all the way.”
Towards the end of the 2019 season, opening batsman Matthew Revis, 18, made his First-Class debut for the White Rose, which has provided yet more proof of Andrew Gale’s desire to provide opportunities for the Club’s brightest young talent.
“Look at Revi (Matt Revis), he had a brilliant season,” Duke continued. “Breaking into the first team, I think it shows that the Club are showing faith in the lads coming through the Academy. You only have to look at people like Harry Brook who came through the Academy recently and has gone on to play regular first team cricket so there’s great opportunities at this Club at the moment.”
As with every aspiring sports star, role models play a big part in inspiring the path that they take.
“Going a little bit back, someone like Jack Russell was great,” said the young wicketkeeper. “Look at his wicketkeeping, it was unbelievable. I’ve watched plenty of the highlights on YouTube. At Yorkshire, I don’t think you can look any further than Jonny Bairstow and how illustrious his career has been so far.”
Ahead of the 2020 season, Duke is hoping to continue to develop his skills and take the next step in his development.
Duke continued: “For me it’s about performing consistently for the Academy, putting my hand up during Saturday games and hopefully I can force my way into playing in the second team regularly. That’s my target for this season.”
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