The county has added 10 new players to its pathway structure after accepting video footage from aspiring young players in a bid to expand their selection process.
Previously only schools, clubs or cricket organisations could nominate prospects but the club’s decision to cast the net wider has reaped benefits.
“There are now 10 boys we’d never seen before who are in our county youth squads,” explained Warwickshire’s high performance manager, Paul Greetham.
“If you consider there’s about 70 boys across the under-13 to under-18 squads, that’s a great result. The process has unearthed some real gems – and remember these are teenagers who to this point have had no county background or coaching. They have huge potential.
“If we’d run traditional trials then the chances are we wouldn’t have found these prospects. And who knows? They could go on to be star performers for the club.”
The move to video trials followed PhD research – co-funded by the club and Birmingham City University – to identify how bias and a lack of objectivity can impact selection decisions.
Players were asked to submit batting or bowling videos for assessment, with Warwickshire receiving a total of 236 video submissions from prospects wanting to join the boys under-13s to U18s set-up. Of those, 141 were from youngsters the club either hadn't heard from before or hadn’t tried out for at least three years.
The best 60 were selected to join five coaching sessions between October and December, with 10 making it onto the county pathway structure. A further 30 have been offered a place in development centre squads which feed into county age group cricket.
The club is now looking to expand the new trials process to include boys in younger age groups and also for the girls pathway system.
Tom Brown, whose research at BCU was the catalyst for the project, said: “The new process allows for coaches to spend time getting to know players’ developmental needs, including understanding their backgrounds and cultures as well as collecting objective talent ID data such as players’ maturation status.
“It’s a holistic approach to coaching with a focus on really getting to know the children because we shouldn’t adopt a one-size-fits-all approach.
“We launched the scheme in a bid to unearth these gems from across Warwickshire, players who’ve never before tried out or perhaps felt excluded. It’s been really encouraging and shows the club is reaching potential new stars of the future.”