England Under 19s star Will Luxton is targeting greater first-team exposure with Yorkshire next season as he gets set to embark upon a winter of international commitments.
Batter Luxton is currently in Sri Lanka with England’s Young Lions as they prepare for the latest Under 19s World Cup in the West Indies early next year.
Luxton is joined in the Young Lions squad by county colleague Ben Cliff, the Academy opening bowler who is yet to make his first-team debut for the county.
The first of five ODIs against Sri Lanka begins in Colombo tomorrow.
Luxton and left-arm spinner Harry Sullivan have both signed rookie contracts ahead of 2022, moving up from Academy deals.
Eighteen-year-old Luxton captained the Academy last summer and progressed through to make seven first-team appearances in the Royal London Cup, including a superb debut 68 in a rained off game against Northamptonshire at Scarborough.
In all, the former Bradford Grammar School pupil scored 165 runs in six innings before progressing through to Under 19s duty against the West Indies through September.
“If you’d have asked me at the start of the year what ambitions I had, they would have been to try and get a first-team game and to play England Under 19s,” said Luxton.
“But I’ve surpassed all that, so it’s been a great year and a great experience for me.
“Being around top professionals and showing I can do it was a huge confidence boost. The main thing I took out of that was understanding that I can do it.
“I want to have a good tour of Sri Lanka, get home, work hard and hopefully go to the World Cup. I want to build on this summer, get better, play more in the first team and achieve more.
“My red ball game is something I can work on quite a lot. If I can nail that down, I’ll be alright.”
Cliff, an opening bowler from Halifax, took 32 wickets in 30 appearances for various teams in 2021, including the Yorkshire Academy and the second team.
He also played some age-group national representative cricket as well as Young Lions practice matches.
“It’s a nice privilege to have been selected for the Young Lions, and to be there alongside Will is good,” he said. “I just want to enjoy it, mainly.
“It will be a good experience alongside some good players and coaches. I want to get the most out of it and hopefully become a better player.
“I got exposed to a lot more professionals last year and was able to pick their brains. I learnt a lot off them.
“That showed in that as the season went on, I felt a lot more confident in my ability.
“Being a fast bowler, the main thing is getting stronger this winter. Then, I believe, the skills will come with that. Hopefully I can have a good summer after that.
“I’ll take it as it comes and try and win as many games as possible for whichever team I’m playing in.
“Like I said before, I want to keep enjoying it. The minute you stop enjoying it, that’s when it goes downhill. It’s a great privilege for myself, my family, friends and everyone who’s helped me get to this point.”