Angus Fraser puts ex-MCC Young Cricketer John Simpson's selection for the England Development XI down to his hard work with coach Jack Russell.
Fraser, Simpson’s Director of Cricket at Middlesex, is delighted with the progress made by his young, first-choice wicket-keeper batsman over the past two seasons.
The 22-year-old’s reward is a place in the Development XI for the one-day clash with Sri Lanka A, to be played at Old Trafford on 8 August.
Also included is Cambridge MCC Universities' (opens in a new window) 19-year-old all-rounder Zafar Ansari, who has been involved with Surrey in limited-overs cricket this summer.
Fraser, who took over at Middlesex in 2009, quickly identified Simpson – then the third choice gloveman – as a key part of his plans at the county.
“I came in just after he joined the staff in 2009 and it didn’t take long for me to realise that he was our future.” said Fraser.
“John has made excellent progress over the last couple of years and this selection is a good reflection on that improvement, and chance to look back on how far he’s come.”
Simpson has gone from strength-to-strength since leaving the YC staff in June 2008, nailing down his place in the Middlesex side.
Fraser identified the left-hander’s batting as his stronger suit on his arrival at the club, and has called upon the assistance of an old friend to bolster his wicket-keeping – ex-England ‘keeper Jack Russell.
“His wicket-keeping has improved a lot over the last 12 months since he’s been working with Jack.” he added
“I played a lot with Jack for England and I got in contact with him to come in and do some work with John and that’s really benefitted his game.
“As a young ‘keeper it’s about working hard at every aspect of that part of your game and just getting to the stage where you drop less balls!”
Middlesex are challenging for promotion to the LV County Championship’s first division with Simpson weighing in with an impressive 410 runs at an average of 40.10.
With Matt Prior widely considered the best Test match wicket-keeper batsman in the world and the likes of Craig Kieswetter and Steve Davies competing for one-day places, further England honours remain a distant dream.
But Fraser, who played 46 Tests for England, insists Simpson is more than holding his own in the domestic game.
Fraser said: “I think John compares favorably to those who are at a similar level around him in the county game.
“It’s a nice chance for him to confirm the improvement which he has made in his game which we see here every week.
“He’s very pleased with getting the recognition and I’m delighted for him. He’s a very good young cricketer.”
Simpson is part of a development XI side drawn from promising young cricketers who have impressed in first class cricket this season. Many have been involved with England under-19s in the last few years.
Squad in full
Admission at Old Trafford for the match against Sri Lanka A is free.