Central Sparks Academy Head coach Darren Franklin says he is ‘proud and excited’ to have the opportunity to be an Assistant coach for the England U19 team as they embark on a tour of Sri-Lanka in March.
As the England U19 get set for a tour of Sri-Lanka in March, Franklin is preparing himself to be involved with the England set-up for the second time having worked on the coaching staff during the ICC U-19 T20 World Cup.
On being appointed Assistant coach, Franklin said: “I’m really proud and excited to have the opportunity to work with some very talented individuals.
“Having never been to Sri Lanka before, it’s a brilliant chance to develop myself and support players in new conditions.
“Clearly, this is a new and exciting challenge, playing in both T20 and 50 over formats under very different conditions to South Africa [host nation of U19 World Cup, 2023].
“With many new players from last year, I can hopefully support them to show their skills, preparing them to play against opposition on more than just one occasion.”
After working with the Sparks’ academy programme and first team set-up since 2020, Franklin has a wealth of experience in developing players which was a key factor in the decision for him to become a part of the coaching team which includes Courtney Winfield-Hill and The Blaze Head coach Chris Guest.
Speaking further, Franklin added: “I’m very lucky to be given this opportunity, I see it as an opportunity to gain experience and learn from many highly skilled people within the environment which I hope will help me support Sparks players moving forwards.”
Hoping to join their coach in Sri Lanka will be Charis Pavely, Davina Perrin, and Meg Austin, who have all been included in the initial squad ahead of the tour.
On the inclusion of the Sparks trio, Franklin is delighted and said: “Really pleased for Dav [Davina Perrin], Meg [Austin] and Pavs [Charis Pavely], there is a lot of talented players across the country, and I am sure all three are very honoured to be in the initial squad.
“Just like a lot of players, they have worked hard to be in the environment and I’m sure they will look to enjoy the opportunity to learn and develop themselves as players.”
Moving away from England, the opportunity Franklin has will reflect to his work with the Sparks academy and he also has a job to do on that front in 2024.
He added: “Within the academy, our aim is to support players in their goals of developing themselves as cricketers, they have all worked extremely hard through the first few months of the programme to hit the ground running in the summer.
“Many of them will have ambitions to one day becoming a professional cricketer and I believe the programme is about supporting them on their journey to doing that.”
We wish Darren the best of luck in March on the England U19 tour of Sri Lanka.