Leicestershire CCC players and staff have been busy taking on challenges since the 2013 season came to an end.
All-rounder Rob Taylor has linked up with his Scotland teammates ahead of some important games. Taylor has been named in a 15-man squad that will travel to the 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifiers in the United Arab Emirates next month.
Scotland will prepare with a 12-day tour to Sri Lanka before traveling to Dubai for two warm-up games against the USA and Namibia, before taking on Bermuda in their first group match on November 15. The team also has games against Afghanistan, Nepal, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Netherlands and Denmark.
Wicket-keeper/batsman Niall O’Brien is in the two Ireland squads for their forthcoming matches. Ireland are also playing in T20 qualifying games in the UAE, and will take on Namibia, Canada, UAE, USA, Italy, Uganda and Hong Kong. Ireland then have the huge ICC Intercontinental Cup final against Afghanistan in Dubai in December.
Academy duo Rob Sayer and Tom Moores are part of the England Development Plan for 2013-14. One group of players, including Sayer, will form the England Under 19 squad that will undertake the tri-series v Pakistan and UAE in the UAE. The tri-series tour will take place in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi during December and then lead into the ICC Under 19 World Cup in February 2014, also in the UAE.
A further England Development Programme squad, featuring wicket-keeper Moores, will be involved in training and development camps at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough over the winter. That will lead into a competitive training camp in Sri Lanka during the Easter holiday featuring fixtures against Sri Lanka Under 17.
Teammates Ned Eckersley and James Sykes are at the Darren Lehmann Academy in Adelaide, South Australia and that is already proving to be a fantastic experience for both players. Pace bowler Nathan Buck is also Down Under, as he is having a spell at Manly Warringah District CC in Sydney.
Michael Thornely is the overseas player for Cornwall in New Zealand this winter. Thornely has already started playing games and an interview with the Leicestershire all-rounder is available on the Auckland cricket website here: http://www.aucklandcricket.co.nz/Premier-Player-Profile/0,27761,176132,00.html
Leicestershire one-day captain Josh Cobb is also off to New Zealand to play for Central Auckland Aces in their domestic t20 competition later this winter.
Leicestershire batsman Matthew Boyce took part in the first two days of the Big Bike Ride 2013, which was a fundraising and awareness challenge for the Tom Maynard Trust and the PCA Benevolent Fund.
Boyce and the team started at the Riverside last Friday and moved across the Pennines from Old Trafford to Headingley on Saturday. The riders then took on the Peak District on Sunday, stopped at Grace Road on Monday, and completed their special journey at Lord's on Tuesday.
To cycle across large parts of the country over the course of five days was a fantastic effort by all concerned. If you would like to sponsor Matthew and his fellow cyclists, his fundraising page is available here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/matthewboyce1
Catering Manager John Stew recently completed the fantastic achievement of running 100 marathons. John ran the Leicester Marathon to bring up his century, and everyone at Leicestershire CCC would like to congratulate him on his achievement.
John was recently interviewed on the Ben Jackson show on BBC Radio Leicester. A link to the BBC iPlayer clip, which is available until Thursday, is available here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p01h2z73/Ben_Jackson_17_10_2013/
Leicestershire Press Officer/Team Analyst Dan Nice completed his first marathon in Nottingham last month. Dan ran the Robin Hood Marathon to raise funds for the LJS Foundation charity, and for more information about the run, his Just Giving page is available here: http://www.justgiving.com/Dan-Nice