Talented young cricketer Tom Keast is hoping to earn a First XI break next season after retaining his place in the Nottinghamshire Academy.
The 19-year-old wicketkeeper has been part of the set-up at Trent Bridge since joining as a 14-year-old and has worked his way through the age group sides and into the Second XI.
Keast, from Market Rasen, knows now is the time to kick on if he wants to earn a highly-prized professional contract with the six-time county champions.
“Next season I really want to take my chances and make sure I can earn my way to a contract at the end of the year,” he said.
“I would love to get some first team experience if the opportunity comes, but I need to focus on performing consistently in the second team before that happens.”
While many cricketers will be using the close season to get some much-needed R and R, Keast is currently working hard on his game in Australia.
Batting technique and outlook will be a big focus during his time Down Under with run-making as important a part of a modern wicketkeeper’s armoury as feats with the gloves.
He added: “The trip to Australia is mainly to figure out how I want to bat, and to become a more diverse player who can play both the long-format stuff as week as the limited over cricket.
“I really want to be able to adapt to different conditions and read the game and situations better.”
Keast first took up the sport as a nine-year-old with Market Rasen CC’s kwik cricket teams when his parents moved to the town.
He made his Second XI debut in his first season with Notts, and was named the academy player of the year the following campaign.
That ground-breaking season also saw him named player of the tournament as his Midlands under 17s side were crowned national regional champions, an honour which earned an invite to the England Development Programme (EDP) that winter.
Back at Notts, the retirement of veteran wicketkeeper Chris Read after 20 years could open a few doors for the ambitious glovesman.
And although there are plenty of hurdles yet to clear, the example of Second XI team-mate Tom Moores has been a particular inspiration.
Moores was an ever-present in Notts’ T20 title-winning campaign this summer.
“They’re massive boots to fill, but I would love to get an opportunity to play first-class cricket,” Keast said.
“There’s healthy competition at the club and with Mooresey doing really well in the T20 competition it puts him in a great spot.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to take my chances in the second team and really make a statement to prove I can perform at the same level as him.”