The distinct sound of leather on willow echoing around a county cricket ground on a hot summer’s afternoon might seem like a distant memory. Hopefully, however, for two Bedford School boys who received call-ups this week, a summer of county cricket will soon become a reality.
Fifth Former Vedant Somal has just been signed by Derbyshire County Cricket Club to play in their under 18 squad for the 2021 season – two years ahead of his current age of 16 years. Vedant, who has played for Bedfordshire from the age of eight, was selected for the club by the Derbyshire coaches following a series of excellent performances for the school, local club and for Bedfordshire county. Vedant will attend training sessions at the county ground in Derbyshire to prepare for the season ahead; working with professional coaches to help develop his game, progress through the Derbyshire ranks and, hopefully, go on to play first-class cricket.
Vedant spent some time training at Derbyshire CCC last winter as part of their Emerging Players Programme, which helped with his selection. Vedant also explained that the school and his father also supported his game, saying, “To get picked for the U18s is really pleasing. The best part about training at Derbyshire is that the coaches help you with different aspects of the game, for example, fitness/strength, tactics and specific skills. It’s quite pleasing to get picked for a major county because all the practice I do in school and outside of school with my dad is hopefully helping me to progress onto playing professional cricket. Since I joined Bedford School in Y7, the school has helped me a lot with extra practice sessions and game time in the summer; especially in the Upper School they have helped me grow as a cricketer. The school cricket staff also contacted Derbyshire to recommend me to them for their age group teams and the excellence squads.”
Vedant hopes that the selection will help him progress onto the Derbyshire Academy and then into their first team.
Director of Cricket, Gary Steer, who himself played for Derbyshire, could not have been more delighted with Vedant’s success. He told us, “Over the years, Vedant has consistently performed well in school and county matches as well as being one of the most committed boys during practice sessions all year round. Moving to Derbyshire County Cricket Club is an excellent move for Vedant as he will have the opportunity to work with professional coaches and practice at a venue with first-class facilities on a regular basis.”
Following in Vedant’s footsteps is Mustafa Haroon in Y8 in the Prep School, who learned this week that he has been selected for the Cricket East Emerging Players Programme. In association with Northamptonshire County Cricket Club, this pathway programme sees players from Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire come together for weekly sessions.
Mustafa will join other Bedford School boys, Dylan Sheemar, Zaid Faleel and indeed Vedant Somal who also play, or have played, on this programme.
Gary Steer commented, “Mustafa has demonstrated in school practice and on the prep school tour to South Africa how talented a cricketer he is with both the bat and the ball. Gaining selection for the Eastern Region Emerging Players Programme will not only give him the opportunity to practice with some of the best young players in the region, but he will also be coached by some of the most experienced coaches in the area as well. This is a fantastic opportunity for Mustafa to develop all areas of his game in preparation for school, club and county matches this summer.”
Our congratulations go to both boys, and we look forward to following their cricket careers over the coming years.