Former MCC Young Cricketer Alex Hales will play his first Test match at Lord’s on Thursday.
The 27-year-old played under Clive Radley at the Home of Cricket in 2006 and 2007, with a string of impressive performances helping to catch the eye of his county Nottinghamshire.
Hales is one of a number of former Young Cricketers to progress to international cricket including William Porterfield, Ross Taylor and Darren Sammy.
I owe a lot of my career to the MCC Young Cricketers
The current Young Cricketers squad is led by new coach Steve Kirby, who replaced Mark Alleyne in April of this year.
The group includes Ben Curran, brother of Surrey pair Sam and Tom, and New Zealander Glenn Phillips, who hit six sixes from an over during a recent match against the Duke of Norfolk XI at Arundel.
A number of former Young Cricketers are currently plying their trade at county level including Somerset’s Adam Hose, Gloucestershire’s Ian Cockbain and Leicestershire’s Ned Eckersley.
Alex Hales said: “I owe a lot of my career in professional cricket to the MCC Young Cricketers.
"It was a great opportunity to learn in some of the best facilities in the world and we were in the shop window, playing against county second teams on a regular basis, which gave me a good chance to progress my career.
"It was a great honour to come in to Lord’s every day, and to work around the ground on Test match days. It was always my dream to come back here as a Test cricketer and I never thought it would happen, but I am privileged to have the opportunity to do it this week.”
Steve Kirby, MCC Head Coach, said: “Alex Hales has shown that MCC Young Cricketers can progress to the very top level. He has demonstrated that true perseverance, hard work and professionalism really does pay off.
"Our players have learned a huge amount from bowling at Alex and the rest of the England and Sri Lankan squads this week. Currently there is a great deal of talent and potential in our group, with some already doing well trialing for counties.
“The Young Cricketers programme is designed to help polish the rough diamond by showing them what is required to be a full professional, first-class cricketer - Alex’s example is a shining light for all of our players to see what can be achieved.
"Everybody at MCC wishes Alex the very best of luck for this match and many more to come in England colours.”