'A Different Challenge...'
Nov 30 2011
On Monday, Hampshire duo Danny Briggs and James Vince jetted off to India for a three-and-a-half week course with the England Performance Programme [EPP]. The trip is designed to help both batsmen and spin-bowlers cope with, and make the most of, spinning conditions found particularly in the sub-continent. Briggs, of course, has been on several trips with England performance outfits over the last year or two and before he went out this time, he made sure he caught up with rosebowlplc.com’s Simon Vincent to look ahead to the trip.
“Having been on the EPP last year, there’ll be plenty of time to improve our technical game as individuals with one-to-one sessions. I think it’s good to get that technical base done during a busy winter.
“And then, [part of it is] to get to know the lads on the tour... [before we] then play four games – two in Pune and two in Mumbai. It’ll be good to get some games, as well, after having worked on the technical stuff.”
Briggs is one of five spinners going, while Vince will be one of 10 batsmen in the group. A squad of quick bowlers are also in South Africa working on the more pace-friendly pitches down there.
It follows on from a busy three weeks in Loughborough in which, apart from some strength and conditioning work, a young EPP squad have been sampling the life of a fireman and going white-water rafting amongst other things.
It’s all working towards a possible England Lions call-up in January for a tour to play Bangladesh and Sri Lanka ‘A’ sides on their home turf. And, having been in the squad – but not the final XI – for the full England squad’s T20 matches against the West Indies at the end of last summer, it may also help Briggs further push his claim for full honours.
But it also won’t do either player any harm ahead of a 2012 county campaign in which Hampshire have committed to focussing on young, home-grown talent – giving them the opportunity to excel in the side.
“Obviously, last year was a disappointing year at the club so we’re all eager to change that and get straight on the up next year, to try to be as successful as early as we can and carry that on through the year.
“It’s something to look forward to. It’s a different challenge – perhaps there’s a bit more responsibility on the younger lads – but I think that’s something we can all thrive on.”
And “different challenges” appear to be something both Briggs and Vince are getting used to at the moment. Let’s hope they can carry that into a County Championship season where the first aim is to gain promotion back into the top flight!
To hear Danny talk in more depth about his winter, next summer and England aspirations – as well as those days out on the rapids - click on the audio file below and keep checking rosebowlplc.com for updates on both players’ progress over the next few months.
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Words: Simon Vincent