England Cricket

Foakes scores 100 on debut

Returning profit, the key for Foakes

Returning profit, the key for Foakes 968 681 dlca-admin

Foakes scores 100 on debut

The summer of 2015 saw 21-year-old Ben Foakes travel to Adelaide, Australia and put his best foot forward with the DLCA.

A key member of the U17 and U19 England squad, it was clear that Foakes had the talent to make it to the top and excel, for both Surrey and his country. However, there were fundamentals within his game that the coaching staff including Shaun Seigert and Mark Sorrell recognised needed development.

Specialist batting coach Sorrell stated, “with his batting, he tended to fall over and be off balance…the key was getting his head to come at the bowler”. By the end of the program, Sorrell noted that “Ben hit the ball very hard and clean, displaying talent that is rare and up there with the top internationals”.

Seigert played a fundamental role in the development of Foakes’ mental game, helping him to make his game more self-driven. Seigert spoke with Ben about the concept of him being the CEO of a company; with cricket being his company that had to return a profit. Seigert recalled that “he had to initiate these outcomes and not have people telling him what to do…it allowed him to grow in previously untouched areas”.

Foakes similarly excelled in his strength and conditioning work, being recognised for his professional work ethic and elite aerobic capacity scores. His development and progress saw Foakes return home and star regularly for Surrey’s 1stXI.

Playing for Adelaide University during his time in Adelaide, Foakes had success with both the bat and gloves. He hit his top score with 122 against a strong Glenelg outfit and was the club’s first choice wicket keeper. The DLCA also travelled to Sydney and played a round-robin cup against Big Bash sides Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunder, where Ben was a strong performer.

Recently, Foakes became DLCA High Performance Program player number 23 to represent their country in international cricket. He made his debut for England against Sri Lanka on the 6thof November 2018 in Colombo. With past company including Joe Root, Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Monty Panesar, Tammy Beaumont and Kathryn Bryce achieving the same feat, Foakes stood out from the rest; becoming the first DLCA alumni to score a century on debut. He scored an impressive 107 from his first innings to help England secure a victory.

The DLCA team are very proud of Ben’s achievements and wish him the very best in his future endeavours!


Liam Plunkett at the DLCA

Plunkett reinvents his game at the DLCA

Plunkett reinvents his game at the DLCA 1536 2048 dlca-admin

Plunkett reinvents his game at the DLCA

Liam Plunkett at the DLCA

Liam Plunkett was dubbed one of England’s most talented and successful bowlers in the early 2000s. The year is 2005 and Plunkett is Durham’s leading wicket taker and made his Test and ODI debuts for England in their tour  of Pakistan. The right arm pace bowler is sending thunderbolts down the pitch to the likes of Younis Khan and would go on to play 9 more tests and 27 ODI matches within the next two years.

All of a sudden the dream was stagnating, Plunkett’s County form dropped away and he was brutally cut from the English squad. In 2011 and 20112, the situation spiralled out of control with the 6’3 big man playing only 3 matches for Durham during this time. Confidence had been lost in his own game and Plunkett needed a drastic overhaul to get his career back on track.

On his own funds, Plunkett decided to apply to the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy (DLCA) and arrived in Australia at the end of the 2012 season. Head Coach Shaun Seigert described Plunkett as “very fragile” when he first arrived at the Academy.

“The key for Liam was to strip back all of the barriers and normalities that surrounded him at home”.

Playing in Australia offered Plunkett a great chance to get a lot of bowling under his belt. It provided him with the opportunity to get away from all of the issues he faced at home and focus on his game, in a headspace that he could control.

Whilst attending the DLCA, Plunkett played for Adelaide University and also had the opportunity to play against the Victorian Bushrangers 2nd XI at the MCG.

Seigert described this match as a turning point for Plunkett, who was able to strip back all of his worries and bowl with complete freedom. Rather than thinking he was bowling controlled deliveries that had to hit a specific mark, the DLCA coaching staff encouraged him to ‘let loose’ and send fiery deliveries to the opposition. He claimed 3/77 and scored 60 runs from in a match that was played on a strong batting wicket.

Seigert stated “he had to rebuild his career on his own back, he put in the hard yards and left no stone unturned”.

After returning to England, he made the switch to Yorkshire under coach Jason Gillespie and was quickly added into the England A squad. It was only a matter of months before he was reselected for the national team and now features as a regular for the Test, ODI and T20 sides.

The DLCA staff are very proud of Liam’s career defining summer in Australia and help instill confidence in every cricketer that attends the Academy.










A man born to lead

A man born to lead 1050 620 dlca-admin

A man born to lead

Alex Wakely, or ‘Wakers’ as he is commonly called has been a shining light for the County cricket system. Breaking through as a talented junior, Wakely represented England U19’s and captained them in the 2008 World Cup. The following year he brought his skillset to the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy (DLCA) and flourished as a natural leader.

As many players do, Wakely first struggled to adapt to the Australian wicket and found it difficult to read the bounce. Despite some early struggles, the current Northamptonshire Captain remained true to himself and displayed incredible persistence. Wakely demonstrated strong leadership to his entire group, one which included English players Alex Hales, Jake Ball and Samit Patel. He had a positive impact on his High Performance Program group from the beginning, but certainly learnt a lot about his own game in the process. Head Coach Shaun Seigert described him as “a stroke maker type…a fluent batsman who is very clean and sharp”.

During his time in Adelaide, Wakely played for Prospect District Cricket Club and displayed his calm temperament on many occasions. He was a player who came to Australia with a reputation for being a junior international player and the Australian bowlers often put a target on his head. Towards the end of the program, Wakely began to dominate and score some serious runs for his grade club.

There was one story in particular Seigert recounted about Wakely’s experience. “He came out to Australia when players were billeted out, rather than living in shared accomodation like they do now”.

“At this particular time, the person he was living with had no air conditioning”.

(P.S. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, Australian summers can be testing, with temperatures in Adelaide potentially reaching up to 40°C .)

“While it would be normal to be unhappy, Wakely simply used a piece of mesh on his wall to cool himself down”.

“He didn’t complain once”.

“He was a man born to lead with one of the most authentic personalities”.

After returning to England upon completion at the academy, Wakely became a regular in the Northants 1st XI. It did not take long for the club to realise that he was a man they needed to keep at the club for life and made him captain at the ripe age of 24. He soon featured and captained Northamptonshire in all formats of the game.











Jamie Porter – DLCA international scholar No. 23?

Jamie Porter – DLCA international scholar No. 23? 968 681 dlca-admin


Jamie Porter – DLCA international scholar No. 23?



In the 2012/13 English off-season, the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy welcomed Jamie Porter, a raw 19 year-old right-arm pace bowler into it’s High Performance Academy. The Essex based seam bowler would go on to return home and take 36 wickets at 24.94 for MCC Young Cricketers, impressing head coach Mark Alleyne and Shivnairne Chanderpaul in the process. Fast forward five years and Porter has been selected for the first time into England’s test squad for test 3 against India. The match starts at Trent Bridge on Saturday. If he is selected in the final team, this would make him the 23rd DLCA scholar to represent their country in test match cricket.

Porter has attributed his development to the time he spent in Adelaide at the DLCA, noting that “access to outdoor facilities in the off season is a massive advantage”. He also added, “learnt a lot about bowling on unresponsive wickets, it taught me the importance of control and I also developed new variations to my game”. Head Coach Shaun Seigert recognised from the first time he saw Porter bowl in the nets that the aspiring professional had some genuine talent. However, it would take a strong summers work and commitment to his skills, body and nutrition to take his game to the next level.

The 6’1 bowler has seen a quick, yet steady rise to making the national team. After his time in Australia learning his trade, Porter helped Chingford secure their maiden Essex Premier League title. The following year in 2014,  he would make his senior Essex debut, taking the wicket of Darren Stevens with his fifth ever first class delivery. From that point onwards, Porter never looked back, signing a new county contract and going onto make his NatWest T20 debut in 2017. In addition, he received the prestigious honour of being named one of the Wisden cricketers of the year for his contribution to helping Essex win the 2017/18 county championship.

The team at the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy wish Jamie the best in the upcoming tour against India and are extremely proud of his commitment to develop since arriving at the DLCA.