Tom Abell is a University of Exeter Sports Scholar who competes with the Men's Cricket first team.

Abell heads to South Africa

First team cricket scholar, Tom Abell has been selected for the Somerset County Cricket Club first squad as it heads to South Africa from 29 February – 9 March for a two week training camp.

Tom will travel to South Africa’s capital with the Top Division County Championship side, staying at the University of Pretoria High Performance Centre to complete a busy two week training schedule.

Described by the club of one of their “Real success stories”, the second year Flexible Combined Honours student (Sports Science and French) has been part of Somerset CCC for a number of years, graduating through the club’s Academy to the second XI in 2012.

Success quickly followed as Tom amassed an enormous 1234 runs, including four centuries for the side in 2013 – winning him the club’s Second XI Player of the Year award.

Despite his previous accolades, Tom certain that the trip will be a highly educational experience. He commented: “I’m not too sure what to expect from the training camp, but I am really looking forward to getting there and being tested in a pressurized environment.

“This is the first experience of its kind for me, and will no doubt be a bit surreal, but I see it as a great opportunity to get some good preparation under my belt and to try to step up and show what I can do.

“The opportunity to train and play in South Africa will be incredible in itself but I hope to progress from where I finished last year, by adapting to the more difficult environment.”

During his studies Tom bats for the University of Exeter Men’s first team, who are enjoying an impressive run of form. In 2013 the side reached the semi-finals of the British Universities and Colleges Sport outdoor national championship, and remain un-defeated in the indoor event so far this season.

This is not the first time an Exeter player has reached the top flight of English Cricket. Former sports scholar Arul Suppiah (Accounting and Finance, 2005) enjoyed a long career at Somerset before retiring in 2013, whilst Honorary Graduate Sir Ian Botham (Law 2010) and the University’s current Director of Cricket also played for the club.

Somerset’s Director of Cricket David Nosworthy explained how this was a great opportunity for Tom to gain further experience continue to build on his strong foundations.

He said: “Tom had a great season last year and we saw real growth from when he joined us in March. Over a six month period he has matured; he has a very level head on his shoulders and has worked at his game very well.

“In June he started to showing some form and by the end of the season he was like a machine.

“There is no pressure on him to achieve at this camp, we just want him to keep going along like he is. We wanted to give him the opportunity to come and train with us then come back and play some good cricket.

“If he focuses on the ball and bat, which he is very good at, the rest will look after itself.”

Date: 21 January 2014