Two of Norfolk’s most respected cricketers have added their voices to those predicting a big future for Bud Bailey.
The 16-year-old pace bowler from Watton, who toured South Africa with England Under-16s earlier this year, is a member of the Northamptonshire Academy.
That now prevents him from appearing regularly for Norfolk CCC or for Swardeston, whose club captain, Peter Thomas, explained: “He wants to play for us, but Academy director David Capel said they want to see him regularly and so he’s playing in the Northamptonshire League.
“That’s obviously a disappointment for us, because he was going to be a big part of our East Anglian Premier League challenge.
“I have a sneaky suspicion that he will go a long way in the game.
“He’s very similar to former Essex and Norfolk player Don Topley, who I knew quite well, in the determination he has to get to the top.
“I for one would love to see him do it, but I would have enjoyed it if we’d just had this year with him to reap the benefits of what we’ve done for him, helping him to develop and playing him in EAPL games when he possibly wasn’t good enough.
“I’m fairly sure he would have taken a lot of wickets for us this year, but we have to abide by Northants’ decision.”
Norfolk Cricket Board coach and Vauxhall Mallards all-rounder Steve Goldsmith, himself a former first-class player, said: “Bud needs help and direction, and I think that’s where Northants have sussed it and are correct in doing what they’ve done.
“I know it’s disappointing for Swardeston, but he needs guidance and Northants want to keep an eye on him.
“Fingers crossed, I think he can go all the way.”
Earlier this year, during special training at the ECB National Cricket Centre at Loughborough, Bailey was singled out for praise by then England fast bowling coach Troy Cooley, the man hailed as a major reason for England’s Ashes triumph.
“He’s an excellent big lad and has put in a lot of hard work up to date, and it has brought good results,” he said.
“He has got some very good raw skills coupled to being 6ft 7in, which is another big advantage.
“How far he goes is all down to ambition. As long as he wants to do it – and he certainly enjoys all the hard work – and he continues in the same vein, the results will come
“He’s one of the hardest workers here and with every session he wants to improve.”