sports gazette

Exclusive: Riley eager to impress on Lions Tour

Published: 28 Feb 2015

Kent spinner Adam Riley is hoping to impress the England selectors after being included in the Lions squad to tour South Africa in January.

Riley was also selected for the England Performance Programme (EPP) after enjoying a superb season for Kent County Cricket Club.

The 22-year-old spent his first two years at Canterbury as James Tredwell’s understudy, but replaced the England international as Kent’s frontline spinner at the beginning of the year.

Riley took more first-class wickets than any other English spinner in 2014, and is confident he can enhance his reputation on the upcoming tours.

He told the Sports Gazette: “I’m delighted to be picked in the squads. It’s incredibly exciting, I’ve got a great challenge to look forward to and it will be an invaluable experience.

“Anyone with ambitions to play for the national team knows this is the first step. You never know if you’re a good enough player until you perform in that situation but I’m confident and going to give it a good crack.

“I’ve got a great challenge to look forward to and whatever happens, it’ll be an invaluable experience.”

Anyone with ambitions to play for the national team knows this is the first step

The EPP batting and spin squad, directed by former England coach Andy Flower and Lead Coaches Graham Thorpe (batting) and Peter Such (spin bowling), will attend a three-week training camp in Sri Lanka later this month, and Riley insisted he wishes to absorb any knowledge his mentors offer.

“To work with coaches like Peter Such and Robert Croft, with all their international and domestic experience, is a real privilege”, he said.

“If you want to step up to the next level, you need to bowl well in all conditions, whether it is the sub-continent or South Africa. It will definitely be a challenge but I can’t wait to get stuck in and learn as much as possible.”

In addition to developing the Lions' skills, the EPP squad will offer support for the senior side during their ODI series, and will also play two matches against local opposition.

While the Lions is a platform for players to hone their skills and become accustomed to the demands of international cricket, the spinner is taking nothing for granted and fully understands how quickly sport can change.

“Things are going well right now but the target at the moment is just to impress on the EPP and the Lions trip and then take it from there.”

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