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Young stars face X-Factor treatment

Twenty seven aspiring players will fight for a place as an MCC Young Cricketer in an X-Factor style shoot-out on Saturday 4 December.

Two places on the prestigious scheme are up-for-grabs at the final trial with former England all-rounder and MCC Head Coach Mark Alleyne playing the Simon Cowell role as head judge.

The trial represents a huge opportunity for young players with international legends including Sir Ian Botham, Mark Waugh and current West Indies captain Darren Sammy all 'YC' graduates.

Last chance

Alleyne admitted Saturday’s trial was a golden final opportunity to secure a place for next season, but insisted much of the groundwork for the decision had already been completed.

He said: "The trial is the last chance for these guys to impress in their bid to secure a place in the 2011 squad - however it is not the only piece in the puzzle.

"I will have a ‘cricketing CV’ and other background information on each player before the trial, and in many ways Saturday will be used to confirm someone’s ability, rather than make any detailed judgments on the day."

Seven players have been retained from the 2010 squad with another seven places originally up for grabs.

Alleyne is ideally looking for a classy top order batsman and a bowler to strengthen the current attack for their second XI championship and trophy campaigns.

Unique opportunity

Five of the seven places available have been filled ahead of the final trial and, as Alleyne adds, the selection process is far reaching and ongoing.

The 42-year-old said: "Although we have two trial periods when players are invited to Lord’s, we rely heavily on our network of coaches around the country to recommend players with the right potential."

MCC Young Cricketers continue to feed players from the UK and oversees into the first-class and international systems.

Around one in three YC’s move on to sign professional contracts, with the likes of Nottinghamshire’s Alex Hales and Middlesex’s John Simpson two recent 'graduates' who have established themselves as county regulars.

The YC programme also encourages cricketers from across the globe to develop their skills in the world class facilities at the Home of Cricket.

Recent graduates include Sammy and New Zealand star Ross Taylor.

The scheme had also encouraged players from emerging cricketing nations to hone their talents - including Afghanistan internationals Mohammad Nabi (recently made Afghan captain) and Hamid Hassan as well as Ireland skipper Will Porterfield.

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