Published: 14th November, 2017
Amar Virdi travels to Australia today as part of a 17-man England Lions squad, on his debut tour with the side.
The Surrey spinner is one of four players included in the squad yet to play for the Lions – alongside Dom Bess, Paul Coughlin and Alex Davies – though he has spent time training with the Lions squad over the summer.
Before flying to Brisbane today, Amar Virdi shared his thoughts on his debut Lions tour, “I’m extremely excited to be going on this Lions tour to Australia. This will be my first time in Australia, and I can’t wait to see what cricket is like out there. It’s a great opportunity for me to gain experience from the England coaches, as well as my teammates on the tour. I think going on this Lions tour will be a huge step in my development, and I can’t wait to get started.”
After impressing for the Second XI, Virdi broke into the Surrey first team in 2017, representing the side in three First-Class matches. Making his debut against Essex, Virdi took three wickets – including the important wicket of half-centurion Ryan ten Doeschate – in his 36 overs, and took a further three wickets in his games against Middlesex and Hampshire.
When asked about his development in 2017, Virdi commented, “I didn’t make many changes as such to my game. I believe that by gaining some First-Class experience, it really helped me understand what the standard of cricket is at the highest level, and gave me a taste of what is to come in my career. I have worked hard on my bowling with coaches such as Saqlain Mushtaq and Peter Such, and both have really helped me develop as a player. All of the staff and coaches at Surrey have really boosted my confidence, and I can say I have learnt so much from them.”
The England Lions will first travel to Brisbane for a two-week camp with a red-ball focus, culminating in a three-day match against a Queensland XI at the Allan Border Oval on November 27th-29th. Virdi will then travel to Perth, where the Lions will switch to a white-ball focus for two-weeks including three T20 matches against the Perth Scorchers as the BBL side prepare for the upcoming Big Bash season.
Virdi is looking to impress on the tour, and should he do so, he is likely to be included in the Lions squad for a seven-week trip to the West Indies in 2018. On what he thought he was going to gain from the experience of his debut Lions tour, Virdi said, “I don’t want to limit myself in what I want to learn, as I think being part of this Lions squad and on this tour is great for me, especially because I am only 19. There is so much experience to draw from the players in the squad, and the coaching staff on the tour, I am just excited to get started and learn as much as possible.”
The England Lions squad was named in early October, and James Whitaker, the National Selector, said: “This camp provides an opportunity for emerging young talent and some players with international experience to work hard on their game in Australia, in excellent facilities, under the guidance of Andy Flower and our other lead coaches. The players selected have a range of experience, and we believe they are an exciting group. This is a great chance for them to impress, before we select another Lions squad for the games against West Indies A in the second half of the winter.”