Former Leicestershire cricketer Tom Flowers has landed the plum job of coach to an England representative XI.
The Barkby United batsman was selected by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to become assistant coach to the England learning difficulties team.
Flowers will work alongside former England spinner Ian Salisbury, coach of the national physical disability side.
Earlier this year Flowers ended a five-year stint as head of cricket at Sherborne School, in Dorset, to launch his own bespoke coaching business.
He said: “They wanted an experienced level three coach and someone who had worked with people with learning difficulties so I went for an interview with the ECB at Edgbaston.
“Our squad pretty much mirrors the full England side in the way it’s run and there has been a lot of investment.
“To be working in this kind of performance environment, you don’t know what avenues it will open in the future.”
The 27-year-old takes over a side of Ashes winners following a triumphant tour of Australia earlier this year.
Internationals are planned for next summer against Ireland and the Netherlands, and a tour is in the offing for the winter of 2016/17.
“The head coach oversees it, but the tactical and technical side is handed over to me,” he added.
“They want me to freshen it up and I’m looking forward to that responsibility.
“It’s a very rewarding role. These guys are playing top level league cricket around the country.”
Flowers was considered a promising cricketer in the age group sides at Grace Road, and captained the academy side before spending a few seasons with the Second XI.
But after failing to break into the First XI he swapped his playing career for coaching.
This season he has worked with three County League clubs and is looking too work with more grassroots clubs in Leicestershire and Rutland.
He said: “I’ve been keeping my hand in with junior coaching and cricket camps during school summer holidays and I was just waiting for the right time to give this venture a go.
“I go into clubs and deliver coaching programmes, helping them to design a programme and give them experience.”
His return has also meant more game time with his lifelong club side Barkby United who are pushing for promotion back up to the Everards County League Premier.
He helped to recruit his former Leicestershire team-mate Matt Boyce who joined the club earlier this month following his retirement from first class cricket.
“It’s nice for me to have Matt here because it balances the side a bit,” he said.
“For the last four or five years I’ve been the oldest chap in the team. The last time we got promoted we didn’t have that balance or experience and now we have.
“Matt has the ability of a professional with the humility of a club cricketer.”
Flowers is head of cricket development at Barkby and enjoys the challenge of developing young players.
He is also set for a return to Grace Road to work with the Leicestershire Academy over the winter.
“I still love going to teach the juniors,” he said. “The nice thing for me is seeing 15, 16 and 17-year-old lads coming through and you know you’ve had an impact on them.
“I find it just as rewarding seeing a couple of young lads in the Barkby second team winning the game for them as anything.”