Mark Footitt, the former Derbyshire left-arm fast bowler who recently joined Surrey on a four-year contract, has been called up to the England Performance Programme (EPP) for a ten-day training camp in Potchefstroom next month.
Footitt, 29, is considered by many to be the quickest bowler on the county circuit, and trained with England ahead of the Ashes last summer to help the batsmen prepare for the left-arm pace of Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc.
He was initially overlooked for this winter’s EPP, even though some pundits suggested he would have been a worthy replacement during England’s Test series in the UAE, after Steven Finn succumbed to a stress injury in his foot.
From November 11, he will be working alongside seven other promising English fast bowlers in South Africa – Jake Ball, Craig Miles, Craig and Jamie Overton, Tymal Mills, Olly Stone and Tom Curran, who was himself added to the party last month.
Hampshire’s left-arm spinner, Liam Dawson, is another man who will be featuring in the EPP plans this winter, after he was called up to the batting and spin-bowling camp that starts in the UAE at the same time but lasts for two-and-a-half weeks.
Dawson, who claimed 29 wickets at 31.93 for Hampshire last season, takes the place of Zafar Ansari, who has failed to recover in time from the thumb injury he sustained while fielding for Surrey against Lancashire.
Ansari, whose injury occurred on the same day that he had been called into the Test squad, will continue to be monitored by a specialist, and his participation with the EPP and Lions programmes later this winter will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.
From South Africa, Footitt and the rest of the EPP fast bowlers will fly to Dubai to join up with the EPP batting and spin bowling group for a further training opportunity in sub-continent conditions – ahead of the England Lions T20 series against Pakistan A, which gets underway on December 7.
Both Footitt and Dawson will first take part in a four-day EPP training camp for all players at the National Cricket Performance Centre (NCPC) in Loughborough next week.
“Congratulations to both Liam and Mark on their selection for this winter’s England Performance Programme,” said James Whitaker, the national selector. “The training camps in Dubai and Potchefstroom next month present an ideal opportunity for them to work closely with the EPP lead coaches and experience what it is like to be in an England environment.
“This is essential as they continue to develop their all-round games and push for future international recognition.
“It is unfortunate that Zafar’s recovery from injury has not progressed at a rate that would allow him to participate fully in the EPP batting and spin camp in the UAE at present. But we will continue to monitor his progress closely and will consider involving him in the later stages of the EPP and Lions programme this winter, once he regains full fitness.”
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.