Australia and India beckon as Norfolk starlet Callum Taylor aims for the top
With the prospect of training in India and a tour of Australia fast approaching, Norfolk batsman Callum Taylor would appear to have the cricket world at his feet.
The 17-year-old is well aware that he still has a long way to go before achieving his dream of becoming a first-class cricket professional though.
Taylor was named in the England Development Performance (EDP) squad for the first time earlier this month, opening up the possibility of his trips to the sub-continent and Down Under.
That call-up puts Norfolk CCC’s youngest-ever century maker – scoring 127 against Staffordshire in the Minor Counties Championship at the age of 16 – on the right path to becoming a fully-fledged professional.
The former Cromer High School pupil knows he still has much to improve upon before that can become a possibility though.
Taylor, who is a member of the Essex CCC academy and also plays for East Anglian Premier League champions Swardeston, discovered he had been named in the EDP squad shortly before jetting off to Gran Canaria to enjoy some close-season sunshine.
“It was a couple of days before I went away when I got the phone call from my mum to say she had spoken to David Graveney (EDP chair of selectors),” Taylor said.
“It got to the Sunday night and I didn’t think I’d got in but then I got the phone call.
“I was a bit hopeful I’d get in because I’d done fairly well for Essex seconds, so I was absolutely delighted.
“I had a full season in the seconds this year and had to play different roles and different formats, with T20s, one-dayers and three-dayers, which was all really good experience.
“We go to India and Sri Lanka (with the EDP squad) before Christmas then head off to Australia in March until the end of April, if I’m selected. I’ve never been to Australia so that should be really good.”
His inclusion in the 18-man squad follows a season in which he made his England Under-17 debut, in a summer series against Pakistan.
The big-hitting batsman also featured regularly for the Essex second XI this year, including scoring seven sixes in an unbeaten knock of 73 against Gloucestershire in May.
His action for Essex restricted his availability for Norfolk this season but he was able to play regularly on Saturdays for Swardeston, helping the south Norfolk club to their third successive EAPL title.
In his 20 league games for Swardeston last season Taylor scored a total of 709 runs, at an average of 39.38, with a highest score of 116.
The youngster, who grew up near Cromer, played for Sheringham until the age of 12 before joining Swardeston alongside his older brothers, 21-year-old Jordan, who made his Norfolk breakthrough this year, and Nathan, who captains Swardeston’s third XI.
“I only missed three or four games for Swardeston,” Callum continued. “I started quite slowly in the EAPL but as the season went on I played my part in the team to win the league again.
“Any chance I get to come back to Swardeston I take because you couldn’t ask for a better team, on and off the field.
“And for Norfolk, I played in the one-day tournament but the schedule for the three-day championship clashed with the Essex seconds’ games.”
The Swardeston star is now planning a strict winter training regime, as he aims to overcome a side strain and Achilles problem which have hampered him at times this year.
He hopes that will then allow him to demonstrate his full capabilities and make 2015 his breakthrough year.
“I would like to think that if I did well and I’m scoring hundreds on a consistent basis – that’s what I’ve needed to do that I haven’t done enough yet, turnings scores of 60 or 70 into big hundreds – hopefully by the end of next season I can maybe break into the (Essex) first team,” Taylor added.
“But I’ve still got a long way to go before that happens!”
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