Khan named in England performance squad for tour of South Africa

Monday 12th October 2009

Kent fast-bowler Amjad Khan (pictured)has been named in the England performance squad for their upcoming tour of South Africa, which begins next month.

Youngsters Alex Blake and Sam Northeast have also been named in an enhanced England performance programme. The party involves a total of 41 players, divided into squads according to their differing stages of development.

Khan, who took 36 first-class wickets during the 2009 season, is named in the main group and is clearly happy at this latest international call-up.

“This is great news for me," said the 28-year-old.

“It goes to show that I am still highly thought of by the England selectors. Theoretically, I guess, I“m only a couple of injuries away from playing international cricket again.

“I had a pretty serious knee injury and it set me back but I returned well at the end of last season and took some wickets. I“m feeling fit and strong. I“m at home in Denmark and working with a personal trainer to ensure that I stay in good shape. I have been to South Africa a few times before but I have never been to Pretoria so it will be a new experience for me. I cannot wait.”

As part of the new programme, players have been categorised into three different groups ‘A“, ‘B“ or ‘C.“ ‘A“ graded players, including Amjad Khan, are those perceived to be closest to graduating into the England team and who have been part of the programme and Lions teams in recent years. ‘B“ Group players are those with experience of First Class Cricket and perceived to be 1-3 years away from the England team. ‘C“ Group players, including Kent“s Alex Blake and Sam Northeast, are likely to be a little younger with less First Class County experience, many of whom have been part of the ECB Elite Player Development Programme.

The performance squad will meet at the National Cricket Academy in Loughborough, early next month, before leaving for South Africa on the 15 of November.

Picture:Getty Images