Norfolk skipper Chris Brown searching for England’s spin stars of the future

Norfolk CCC captain Chris Brown (right) coaching at Nottinghamshire CCC, talking to (from left) acad

Norfolk CCC captain Chris Brown (right) coaching at Nottinghamshire CCC, talking to (from left) academy player Liam Patterson-White, academy director Chris Tolley and first-team player Garry Keedy. - Credit: Submitted

Norfolk captain Chris Brown is helping in the search for England's future spin bowling stars.

The 40-year-old former Lancashire off-spinner works as a spin consultant for the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) alongside his roles with the Norfolk Cricket Board.

This sees Brown, who is also player/coach and the new Director of Cricket at Horsford CC in the East Anglian Premier League, involved in the Brian Johnston Memorial Trust (BJMT) Elite Spin Bowling Programme.

But this winter the Norfolk skipper has been given a bigger role with the programme, due to the ECB's national lead spin coach, Peter Such, becoming more involved with the England Performance Programme.

Brown explained: 'With Peter Such now being away in Sri Lanka and getting more involved with England, he has asked me to help oversee the Brian Johnston Memorial Trust Spin Programme, which keeps me busy in the winter, going up and down the country to visit the first class counties, so I'm pleased to be getting more involved.


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'This mainly involves skill enhancement and technical work at this time of year, with more tactical stuff in the New Year. I work with Nottinghamshire CCC every Wednesday with their academy and also professional staff on occasions. I also coach Essex CCC along with John Childs on the same programme as well, and part of the role with the ECB is to visit all the first-class counties, looking at spin bowlers and identifying any outstanding talents.

'With Graeme Swann retiring from England last year during the Ashes, we need to be focusing and putting resources into spin bowling to try to find a replacement in the next few years.'

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The experienced spin coach – who was confirmed as Norfolk captain for 2015 at the club's AGM on Saturday – has worked within the ECB's Spin Programme for several years. His increased role will now see him attend BJMT sessions in Such's absence to support spin coaches at training sessions at county championship clubs around the country.

But at the same time he will be keeping his eyes peeled for spin bowling talent which could one day follow in the footsteps of three-time Ashes winner Swann.

'There's a degree of natural talent involved of course, but with hard work and dedication we need to set the foundations for these spin bowlers at a young age giving them the tools to improve and develop their games as they mature,' added Brown.

'With Graeme Swann retiring, there's an opportunity now that perhaps hasn't been there before for a young spinner currently involved in first-class cricket to rack up consistent performances and have a crack at getting into the England set-up.'

• Norfolk umpire Chris Watts has been added to the ECB first class umpires' reserve list for 2015.

The 47-year-old umpires at Minor Counties Championship and East Anglian Premier League level, and umpired last season's Natwest Club T20 final at Northamptonshire CCC. Former Norfolk bowler Martin Saggers, born in King's Lynn, is retained on the full list.

Have you got a cricket story? Call David Freezer on 01603 772418 or david.freezer@archant.co.uk

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