Oxford MCC University graduate Ed Young is enjoying a cricketing finishing school experience in Australia before his first full season with Gloucestershire.
Young, who graduated from Oxford Brookes in 2011, signed a two-year deal with the West Country side in October this year after playing regularly for the club last season.
The 22-year-old is preparing for the 2012 season in Adelaide as part of the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy.
The DLCA centre of excellence has helped cricketers from all over the world - and England in particular - hone their talents since its inception in 2005.
Young is one of several English qualified youngsters benefiting from ECB sponsorship at the academy this winter and is hoping his six months will have the same effect on his career as that of DLCA graduates Monty Panesar, Samit Patel and Ajmal Shahzad.
DLCA players are put through their paces five days a week, with individually tailored programmes designed to improve each individual’s game.
The youngsters are also assigned to a first-grade side in Adelaide, experiencing the rigours of the Australian club scene on Saturday’s and Sunday’s.
Young, a left-arm-spinner, believes the experience is the best he could be undergoing this winter: “I just want to make sure I enjoy my six months out here, and that I fully use the resources available. If I could come back a better cricketer that would be ideal!
“I don't think you can beat actually playing cricket, so playing games over here compared to being stuck training in the indoor nets back home is invaluable.
“Also the conditions over here are different, you will never experience playing cricket in 40 degree heat back home, so this really pushes us beyond the norm and hopefully has us prepared for whatever the English season throws at us.”
Young is one of three MCCU players on the 2011/12 intake, with Leicestershire’s Greg Smith and Ross Whiteley also in Adelaide this winter.
MCC Young Cricketers Jamie Porter and Christian Marsh have been able to benefit from a new reciprocal agreement between the two schemes.
The pair will spend the winter in Australia, with two promising South Australia players to be involved at Lord’s in return.
While Young is concentrating on making an all-round improvement on his game (he is also a batsman with a first-class century) his bowling is the area he is really looking to push in Australia.
Young added: “Narrowing down specific skills is the key. My main focus is my bowling out here, I want to become Gloucestershire's main spinner and I know what I need to improve on.
“I want to establish myself as a 1st team player in all formats of the game.”
With the likes of fellow left-arm-spinners, England’s Panesar and Patel having already travelled down the path of the DLCA, Young is heading in the right direction.