Callum hopes to blossom in Spanish sun
CALLUM GREGORY is fully focused on climbing the cricketing ladder and is hopeful that being named one of this year’s Tom Maynard Academy intake is a step in the right direction.
The Gloucestershire seamer is one of just 12 talented young cricketers, from nine first-class counties, to be given the honour – which comprises a nine-day spell in Spain this month.
The chosen 12 will work a carefully-constructed programme at the Desert Springs resort covering technical skills, strength and conditioning and finishing with two T20 matches against the Spanish national team at La Manga.
Gregory, 20, has been with Gloucestershire for three years and is setting his sights on breaking into the first-team after seven appearances for the second XI last season.
And he admits that there is also relief at being one of four recipients of the Academy Plus contracts at the county.
“I want to really hone my skills [at the Tom Maynard Academy] because the whiteball season starts so early this year, so it will be good to get a head start on everyone else,” he said.
“The whole purpose of the camp is to focus on white-ball cricket. It is a good opportunity because through the winter we practice a lot with the red ball as it is tougher to practise white ball stuff indoors.
“Obviously there was a lot of excitement over my Academy Plus contract but certainly relief is a good way to describe it!”
Gregory was secondleading wicket taker in the West of England Premier League last season while playing for Downend CC.
And he is confident the academy contract can be a bridge to becoming a professional.
While the Tom Maynard Academy will prioritise whiteball cricket, Gregory insists he wants to prove himself in all forms of the game.
“I found out about the contract at the back end of last season because our academy contracts at the time were up,” explained Gregory.
“We reached an age where a decision regarding my future in cricket had to be made and it was a pathway into the professional squads.
“I really want to focus on all forms of the game and be in a position where, whether it be white-ball or red-ball, I can be called upon to perform if needs be.
“The white-ball stuff is something I enjoy a little bit more because of the excitement of it, but that said I still have big aspirations in red ball cricket.
“It has been good progression for me and I have really enjoyed it over the three years that I have been here.
“I have had plenty of opportunities to play, I have played in academy games and for the second XI.
“I want to be in a position where, if they require me, they will trust me to do the job if called upon.”