Joe Sayers is confident of a bright future for Yorkshire’s crop of England Under-19s stars.
Four White Rose teenagers are currently in the UAE at the World Cup, where England were narrowly beaten in a pulsating semi-final by Pakistan at Dubai on Monday.
While seamer Josh Shaw has not played since the first two games of the tournament, captain Will Rhodes, 16-year-old Matthew Fisher and Jonny Tattersall have all been mainstays and impressed greatly.
Sayers, who retired from professional cricket in January, is a former England U19s player between 2001 and 2003, even captaining them once in 2003 when Alastair Cook was his opening partner.
Rhodes, Fisher – of the York-based Stamford Bridge and Sheriff Hutton Bridge clubs respectively – and Tattersall all played first-team cricket for Yorkshire last season.
And Sayers believes their experiences of international cricket during the last month will stand them in good stead for what is to come.
“It will have been a fantastic experience for them, and I’m sure all those Yorkshire lads will come back brimming with confidence and excitement about their future careers,” said Sayers.
“I’m pleased to see they’ve done well over the last few weeks, and it’s a great platform from which they can push on.
“The responsibility of playing for your country, there’s nowhere that can be practiced outside of the senior teams.
“I had three years playing for the U19s, and it helped a great deal.
“I was a young player opening the batting in a relatively senior side in my first year. It had the likes of Nicky Peng, Ian Bell and James Tredwell in it. Jimmy Anderson also made his debut at Grace Road with me.
“In the second year I didn’t play quite as much, but I opened with Nick Compton against India when I did.
“For me, the biggest influence on me having joined the England set-up from a young age was the fitness aspect. I really had that drilled into me.”
Ahead of Friday’s third/fourth place play-off, Rhodes has scored 159 runs and taken six wickets from five matches. Fisher has taken ten wickets and Tattersall has also scored 159 runs.
And Sayers, assessing all three players’ future prospects having played with them, added: “I think the benefit Rhodesy’s had is an exposure to List ‘A’ cricket already.
“We saw with Tim Bresnan that he played a lot of one-day cricket early in his career before becoming commonplace in the four-day side. That experience early in his career of having to learn on the job in a pressurised environment stood him in great stead.
“That’s the same for Rhodesy. I think there’s a certain maturity about him. He loves to lead. He’s very determined and competitive, and a very good player with the bat in particular.
“I think Tatts has got a lot of the strong temperament you need to bat in the top order. Technically speaking, he seems pretty sound for his age and experience. He’s also a fantastic fielder in the ring.
“He was 12th man for the England Test side in the summer, and he’s a great athlete.
“There’s a tragic background to Matthew’s story with his father’s passing, but I think that really motivates him to make the best of himself.
“I think it’s going to be really key that he’s managed in a sensible way going forward because he’s got pace and skill beyond his years. He’s certainly someone to keep a close eye on going forward.”