England Test captain Andrew Strauss believes the next generation of potential internationals could start their career at Radlett Cricket Club’s new top-class facilities.
His Middlesex side are to use Radlett as a training base for its professional squad – and he believes their high-profile impact on would-be cricket stars could be hugely influential.
Strauss said: “Hopefully it becomes a bit of a hub for promising cricketers to come along and use the facilities and see some of the first-class cricketers training here.
“Ultimately we need a new generation of cricketers to come through.”
The redevelopment project has taken two-and-a-half years to complete and provides Middlesex with something they’ve lacked in the past - a training base away from home.
The Hertfordshire club will also host Middlesex’s second XI matches.
Following the improvements, Radlett now boasts a new dressing-room, gym, physiotherapy room, first-class standard grass pitches and a bespoke net system for batting.
The partnership between the two clubs will also provide money for Radlett and club president Philip Marsh believes the new facilities will be important for all age groups.
“Without Middlesex we wouldn’t have been able to get this far. We wouldn’t have been able to raise the money needed without their input. It will help their cricket without a shadow of doubt.”
He continued: “On a Sunday morning there are more than 200 boys and girls here being coached. It’s important for them to be able to use the facility, as opposed to one that was falling down.
“So the parents can be proud to bring their young children here. In every respect it is a great thing for Middlesex, for Radlett and for cricket locally.”
For more than 135 years, Middlesex have called Lord’s their home ground.
But during the summer months the club’s coaches and playing staff have found it difficult to train and often have to find places to practice away from St John’s Wood.
Strauss said: “It has always been a challenge for us not having a base in both pre-season and the regular season for us to practice and do our gym work.
“We have always been a little nomadic in terms of where we practice. So to have this base here, and it looks like a first class facility, is a real step forward for Middlesex.
“I’m delighted they have put the time and effort to get it right and I’m sure it will be fantastic for Radlett as well.”
He added: “It will strengthen the link between Radlett and Middlesex – which has always been strong anyway.”