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With the first Academy Festival of the season getting underway later today, we have a look at those who have starred for the team, and the ones to watch for the 2023 summer.

The Sunrisers Academy side has proved to be an extremely successful programme over the past few years. The 2023 First Team squad sees six players feature who progressed through the Academy, which was only put in place towards the end of 2020, and last summer the young squad enjoyed thirteen victories, suffering just defeat just twice.

Promising batters Flo Miller and Jodi Grewcock have been able to earn themselves a professional contract over the winter, whilst Scarlett Hughes, Jess Olorenshaw, Mia Rogers, and Katherine Speed have all been awarded pay as you play deals for the season ahead.

Whilst Olorenshaw remains on the programme for this summer, the departures of Grewcock, Miller, and Hughes opens the door for the next cohort to progress. Four players have made the step up from the Emerging Player Programme (EPP) to join the Academy group, having impressed last summer. These are Middlesex’s Molly Barbour-Smith, who went to the U19 World Cup with Scotland, Maddy Reynolds from Suffolk, and the Norfolk duo of May Drinkell and Evie Booker.

Spinners Hannah Davis and Izzy James produced some incredible performances with the ball last year, and will look to replicate that form in the coming weeks – especially if the summer dries out similar to last year. Davis finished last season with an astonishing 18 wickets in the final four games, whilst James was reliable with the ball throughout and complemented her spin partner well. Anisha Dissanayake will also play a key role, with the importance of Sunrisers Academy’s spin attack almost mirroring the First Team’s structure.

Both have been training regularly with the First Team squad over the winter, alongside seamers Layla Judge, Esmae MacGregor, and Charley Phillips. These three will be looking to push each other towards continued success this summer, with the competition for places likely to provide a real selection headache for Senior Regional Talent Manager Luke Pomfret.

Jazz Westley and Elsa Barnfather were reliable batters at the top of the order last year, and will look to continue as they take the mantle of becoming the group’s senior batters. Middlesex all rounders Riva Pindoria and Amu Surenkumar will also provide useful options at both ends of the order.

Ahead of the Academy season, Pomfret said:

“After such an excellent year last time out, we need to make sure now that we really kick on and continue to produce some really good cricket. I am excited to see these girls produce some more brilliant performances, which will ultimately put them in the best possible position to be challenging for a spot in the First Team.

The pathway has been a great platform to develop our cricketers in the Sunrisers region, and these players have a great opportunity to keep developing their skills and becoming superb cricketers. They’ve worked very hard through the winter, putting in the hard yards, and have been chomping at the bit to get back outside and back into competitive cricket. I know they’ll keep working as hard as they can, and hopefully we can complete the summer with another set of successful results.”

Click here to see the Academy fixtures.

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