FORMER Somerset player Alex Barrow has been involved with coaching the young cricketers on the Academy for several years now, primarily working with the batters and the ‘keepers, which he is thoroughly enjoying, writes Richard Walsh.

“I work with the Academy on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday which fits around my other role with Exeter University and is perfect for me. I want to coach as much as I can and being able to be here working with the Somerset Academy means so much to me. To be able to help these guys on their way towards playing for Somerset and perhaps international cricket is very special to me.

“I love coaching  anyway but to hopefully develop their game and mindset and get excited about the prospect of playing cricket for Somerset is something that I'm passionate about, and these guys are as well.

“Last season I got to spend time on match days with the Under 18s in the 50 over, T20 and three days competitions which gave me the chance to see them play. Prior to that Id only seen them during the winter and not seen any game play which was tough so last year to have that time with them and watch them develop how they transfer their winter skills into the summer.

“Now its already January so the season will fast approach.

“We have got some really good young batters and ‘keepers at Somerset throughout the different age groups and hopefully we will see some of those guys transition through into Second XI cricket and some be given a professional contract. There are also a fair few waiting in the pipe line as well  so there is plenty to be excited about.

“We are really lucky that we have got good players who want to get better, and a great group of coaches who I believe will help these guys. To be apart of a coaching team like this is something pretty special. The players are why we are here and they are a great bunch.”

Early this month (February) Alex will be heading off to Sri Lanka with the Academy.

“I will be going out to Sri Lanka with the Academy to spend two weeks a large part of time will be spent on skills development with a lot of batting against bowlers which is sometimes difficult throughout the winter.

“Touring as a young adult is a great experience and something that you aways look forward to and our job as coaches is to make that trip as good as possible for them. We want to make sure that they are getting a holistic development, not just about the cricket they but getting out and seeing some of the local Sri Lankan culture. It’s also about managing their lifestyle and being away from home which being a professional cricketer will involve.

“We will be trying to create a two week period for them when they can get stuck in with their cricket and transfer what they have done through the winter and keep working on it out there in Sri Lanka. It will then only be a few weeks back here and they will be on green wickets back in England.

“There will also be a lot of local bowlers available in Sri Lanka and they will benefit from the practice trying to hone their skills against bowlers both in a training environment when we can look to be really specific about what we can get out of it and there will be sessions when it will be a little bit freer but there will also be times when they get out into the middle in a game scenario and see if it works in a game under a little bit of pressure. Different people will get different things out of it.

“It’s a great experience for a young player to e able to go out to Sri Lanka and concentrate solely on cricket and a great experience for me to go and coach in a different country and experience that as well being part of the tour as well.”

Alex added: “The great thing about coaching is that you are trying to improve players, but its also about trying to improve yourself so I'm really looking forward to it and excited about it.”