Topley heading Down Under to rub shoulders with England’s Ashes soldiers

ON TOUR: Reece Topley
ON TOUR: Reece Topley

Bowling sensation Reece Topley flies Down Under today (Thursday) to help prepare England’s Ashes squad to topple Australia this winter.

The Polstead Heath resident is flying to the southern hemisphere with a 13-man squad hoping to catch the eye of coach Andy Flower when the starlets get the chance to train with his senior side.

Still yet to turn 20, Topley became only the third teenager in Essex’s history to be presented with his county cap this summer after finishing the 2013 season as the county’s leading wicket taker in all formats.

The 6ft 7in left-armer, who is joining up with the development squad for the second time, said: “It is nice to know that these opportunities are out there (touring with the EPP) but at the same time I’m quite impatient.

“I want everything to happen now, I don’t have that perspective when I look at it in the present, it always seems too far away and I want it now.

“But obviously you have to be patient, make sure I’m doing my work and hopefully I will be rewarded with my chance.”

The squad are set to play two three-day fixtures Down Under, against Queensland II at Allen Borderfield in Brisbane and Western Australia II at the James Oval at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

The much-vaunted programme has seen recent graduates Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow go on to establish themselves in the senior set-up with Gary Ballance hot on their heels.

And Topley, whose stock ball normally comes through between 75-80mph, insists he will return from this tour a much-improved bowler.

“It will be hard work but 
it’s all about making the most of it,” he added. “You are always looking to improve and the coaches will highlight a few things and I will work hard.

“This squad was made to replicate England and 
hopefully when my time does come I will be best prepared for it.”

Essex have long known of Topley’s talents — he grabbed successive five-wicket hauls in his first two County Championship games of his career back in 2011.

International recognition was not long in following as the former Hadleigh youth cricketer finished the 2012 ICC Under-19 World Cup as the tournament’s top wicket taker and went on an Australian tour with the Lions.

But Topley is not a man for resting on his laurels, even if his ambitions of breaking into the senior England set-up appear a way off yet.

Flower’s side are blessed with a wealth of options in 
the pace department just now, so much so that Graham Onions — the leading wicket taker in the County Championship — could not even find a place on the plane for the Ashes.

But Topley remains undeterred and insists his unique skill set makes him someone that eventually Flower will be powerless to ignore.

Follow the England Performance Programme squad and their progress this winter at www.ecb.co.uk/epp