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Kent Cricket Academy prospects Ryan Davies and Hugh Bernard receive coaching from England Test captain Alastair Cook ahead of under-19 tour

By Alex Hoad

Ahead of joining the England under-19s tour of Australia, Kent Academy youngsters Ryan Davies and Hugh Bernard have received a coaching session with England Test skipper Alastair Cook.

The 18-year-olds headed to Perth this week to play five one-day matches and a four-day game against their Australian counterparts at the WACA in the first under-19 Ashes Down Under in more than a decade.

Cook helped their preparations during a four-day camp at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, saying: “It’s been great to spend time with the 19s before they go to Australia.

“It was interesting for me to see the next generation and what level they are at. I’m pretty sure we will see a few England players from this group.”

Sandwich's Ryan Davis hits out during his side's five-wicket Premier Division win over Beckenham
Sandwich's Ryan Davis hits out during his side's five-wicket Premier Division win over Beckenham

Canterbury High pupil and wicketkeeper-batsman Davies – who plays for Sandwich Town – said: “Having an England captain spend the morning with you is something that you can’t experience with your county – unless you play for Essex, I suppose.

“He was open and honest about everything and I could relate it to my game in the way he was quite chilled out and relaxed when he first batted but then talked about how to switch on for his second and third sessions.”

Davies has been working with Sam Billings before heading out for his first trip to Australia, adding: “He’s probably worked more with Geraint Jones in the past so it’s been great to get to know him a bit.

“He’s gained a lot of experience with the England Lions this winter, so there’s a lot I can learn off him.”

Like Folkestone star and St Anselm’s School, Canterbury, pupil Bernard is now, Davies was an opening bowler at the start of his cricket career before switching to wicketkeeping aged 11.

Davies said: “Hugh has been quite a late developer in terms of Kent age groups but I’ve known him for eight or nine years because he’s from Folkestone and I play at Sandwich Town. Our clubs always have a good battle.”

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