Olly Stone delighted with England Under-19s call-up
Olly Stone admits his selection for the England Under-19s tour to South Africa is the perfect end to an 'amazing' year.
The 19-year-old Vauxhall Mallards pace bowler made his First Class debut for Northamptonshire in May and was then handed a two-year professional contract with the Steelbacks.
Stone went on to feature in two more County Championship games, eight Clydesdale Bank 40 matches and three Twenty20 fixtures for Northants during the summer and has now been chosen as part of a 15-man squad for the tour to South Africa.
He said: 'It's been an amazing year for me, I couldn't really have planned it any better.
'I'm really happy to be selected and I can't wait to get out there. It's been a tough few months of training – I had a month off at the end of the season but I've been back training pretty solid since the start of October. It just goes to show that all the hard work is beneficial and it does pay off.'
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Former Thorpe St Andrew High School pupil Stone, whose family live in Brundall, received confirmation of his selection in a phone call from the ECB's national performance manager David Graveney last week: 'It will be the first time I've been to South Africa, although I've heard a lot about playing there,' said Stone, whose only previous experience of playing abroad was a trip to India with Northants. 'I know it's going to be tough cricket, but I'm really looking forward to it.
'It will be good to see what my skills are like in those conditions and in terms of coming back to hit the season hard in April.'
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Soon after Stone returns from South Africa he will be embarking on a pre-season tour to Barbados with Northants. While it is a busy winter schedule for the teenager, he appears to be clear of the back injury problems he suffered three years ago: 'Everything seems fine,' he said. 'I'm building up for the tour now and it's all going well at the moment.'
While the England squad has been selected with one eye on preparing for the Under-19 World Cup in 2014, Stone is one of the few players chosen who will be too old to compete in that event: 'I'm quite disappointed I won't have the chance to play in that,' he said. 'But I'm getting the chance to play overseas and it will just be a great experience for me.'
The four-week tour includes two four-day Tests and five one-day internationals against South Africa U19s and there will be two games at the famous Newlands ground in Cape Town, located at the foot of Table Mountain.
England U19s squad: Shiv Thakor (Leicestershire, captain), Tom Barber (Hampshire), Ed Barnard (Worcestershire), Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire), Harry Finch (Sussex), Ryan Gibson (Yorkshire), Gavin Griffiths (Lancashire), Miles Hammond (Gloucestershire), Callum Jackson (Sussex), Josh Shaw (Yorkshire), Tom Shrewsbury (Gloucestershire), Dominic Sibley (Surrey), Olly Stone (Northamptonshire), Jonny Tattersall (Yorkshire), Kishen Velani (Essex)
Jan 23-24: Tour match, Bellville Cricket Club, Cape Town
Jan 27-30: First Test, Sahara Park Newlands, Cape Town
Feb 3-6: Second Test, Boland Park, Paarl
Feb 10: Tour match, Bridge House, Franschhoek
Feb 13: First ODI, Boland Park, Paarl
Feb 15: Second ODI, Bellville Cricket Club, Cape Town
Feb 16: Third ODI, Boland Park, Paarl
Feb 19: Fourth ODI, Coetzenberg, Stellenbosch
Feb 21: Fifth ODI, Sahara Park Newlands, Cape Town