Barbados-born pace bowler Che Simmons has been tipped as a potential England international after winning a first professional contract with Warwickshire.
Simmons, 18, learned the game in the Caribbean but has a United Kingdom passport through his father and moved to the Edgbaston academy last year.
He has now signed a three-year deal and would qualify for England residency in 2024, when he could follow the likes of Jofra Archer and Chris Jordan in swapping a Bajan upbringing for an international future with the Three Lions.
𝗡𝗘𝗪𝗦 | 𝗖𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗶𝗺𝗺𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘀𝗶𝗴𝗻𝘀 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝘀𝘁 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁 ✍️
💬 "He’s worked incredibly hard with our coaches and we think that he could have a very long and successful career with Warwickshire."
— Warwickshire CCC 🏏 (@WarwickshireCCC) May 18, 2022
Warwickshire team-mate Jacob Bethell is another on a similar path and has already starred for England’s Under-19s.
Simmons was initially recommended to the club’s director of cricket Paul Farbrace by current Yorkshire head coach Ottis Gibson, another successful import to English cricket from Barbados.
Farbrace, who worked as England’s assistant coach under Trevor Bayliss, said: “He’s gone on to work incredibly hard with our coaches and we think that he could have a very long and successful career with Warwickshire and potentially England.
“Che’s progress over the last 12 months is testament to the work of Ian Westwood and the wider coaching team.
“Producing our own and developing players to play for England are two of our core cricketing principals and, alongside Che, we’re very excited about the potential of many other young cricketers within our pathway.”
The Bears’ high performance manager Paul Greetham said: “Che has made an incredible transformation over the winter.
“It’s a challenge for any young sports man or women to come into a new culture and to understand the step up to a high-performance environment.
“But with the support of many good people around him, Che has shone.
“Our academy tour of Sri Lanka in February was a turning point where he stood out as a senior member of the team.
“He bowled hostile spells and had significantly enhanced his batting, fielding and leadership skills.”