Suffolk looking to the future with selection of Max Dias
The selection of Max Dias for Sunday’s 50-over friendly versus Cambridgeshire provides a glimpse to Suffolk’s future white-ball thinking, writes Nick Garnham.
The 18-year-old, who is a student at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook and plays for East Bergholt, is included in the side for the match at Burwell & Exning CC (11am).
Dias, who was 12th man for the two T20 fixtures against the same opponents at Woolpit CC last Sunday, is one of two changes to the side that won both fixtures.
Matt Wareing is unavailable and although Billy Moulton-Day was considered, Ollie Bocking is fit again to return after a shoulder strain and joins Dias in the side.
Head coach Andy Nothcote said: “Although Billy was in the reckoning this week, we decided to leave him out as he really is a T20 specialist for us.
“With things as they are, giving Max a go makes more sense. Equally Max has put in some good performances for the Under-18s and 2nd XI that he deserves a look in.”
Dias, who has represented Suffolk 2nd XI this season, recently took a hat-trick in the Thank You NHS Cup 2nd Tier against Copdock 2nd XI.
Northcote said: “Max will travel abroad to the Darren Lehmann Academy with Freddie Heldriech and Alex Oxley this year and I hope he gains some good game time and enjoys working with Shaun Tait, their Academy’s bowling coach.
“He’s a hard-working, very skilful bowler at the moment and with a little more pace and understanding of the game could be a serious contender in a competitive season.
“As a bowler, he is very much like our incumbent, but unavailable all-rounder, James Poulson and through the winter we often thought of Max as a direct replacement should James not play. He now gets his chance which is wonderful. Expect to see lots of slower balls and variations come Sunday.”
Northcote was pleased with the performances of his side at Woolpit in the three-wicket win and 17-run success on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method after rain prevented the final two overs being bowled.
He said: “We are very pleased for the group and frankly, whilst there are no direct rewards for working hard, the boys earnt that. They trained incredibly well through the winter and then subsequent sessions at Copdock so it was pleasing to see.
“The squad are well adjusted and accustomed to my expectations on and off the field and the four newbies or returning players fitted in perfectly, almost as if they had always been there which is a sign of a really tight group.
“It was also a day that everything went our way, including the deck suiting our attack. So overall, whilst we have an uphill battle come Sunday again, I am quietly happy where we are as a squad in relation to the T20 format and what we will be shaping up to achieve next year.”
The matches at Woolpit saw both Neil Dexter, the ex-Kent, Middlesex and Leicestershire all-rounder, and Mildenhall’s Jack Potticary make their debuts and contribute to the two wins.
“Sometimes players enter squads and it’s as if they have been there all along and in these two, this is the case. It is remarkable to stumble across two good eggs and get them integrated within our group so well.
“They both bring very different off-field antics; whilst Neil is that seasoned pro having been there and done it, over and over again, Jack is the budding kid wanting to grow off the group and older players to have the opportunity to turn pro, making a healthy mix,” added Northcote.
Suffolk: Adam Mansfield (wkt), Jack Beaumont (capt), Jack Potticary, Neil Dexter, Ben Parker, Ben Shepperson, Josh Cantrell, Tom Rash, Freddie Heldreich, Ollie Bocking, Max Dias.