Walter benefiting from a winter of hard work


Paul Walter is continuing a demanding workload as he shapes up for the 2018 season, a campaign in which he is determined to hold down a place in the Essex side in all formats of the game.

And the belief that the county hold in the all-rounder was illustrated recently when the player put pen-to-paper on a deal that has earned him a contract extension to the end of the 2019 term.

“It’s been pretty full-on since the end of last season,” the 23 year-old admitted. “I was involved in the England Pace Programme from the start of last November, then I went to Desert Springs for 5 days and I’ve also been spending a lot of time up at Loughborough.”

The Basildon-born player was recently named, along with fellow Essex stars Dan Lawrence and Jamie Porter, as a member of the South squad for the three-match 2018 North-South series to be played in Barbados in March.

“It was a real pleasant surprise to get selected and hopefully, I can make my mark on the series and maybe put my name in the hat for selection for the Essex game against the MCC that follows,” said the left-arm bowler.

“Things have been going really well for me in the last couple of seasons, I think I did okay in the one-day matches I played last year and I’m hoping to re-create that and go on to better things in 2018. I made a few worthwhile contributions but the target ahead of me is to be more consistent in my all-round game in white ball cricket and carry that over into Championship cricket.

“I don’t want to be considered as primarily a one-day player, I want to embrace all forms of the game. In a bid to achieve that, I’ve been doing a lot of work including my skills and disciplines in the red-ball game. Hopefully, that will transfer into the season and I can get myself into consideration for all formats and have a good season across the board.”

The 6’8” player has made giant strides since first being introduced into the Essex side during 2016. He made 7 appearances in the T20 side that season, before earning his Championship debut in the away clash against Derbyshire where he showed his burgeoning all-round abilities with an unbeaten 47 and four wickets as Essex stormed to an innings victory.

Reflecting on his rapid rise, he acknowledged that it has been a personally productive time. “With all the talent we have around the Club, I felt it was an achievement in itself just to get selected in the first place. But then you have to prove yourself.

“Its been a really two good years for Essex having won promotion in 2016 and then the title last year and I’ve been delighted to get opportunities to be a part of those successes but you always have to be ready to grasp those chances when they do come along and do  yourself justice.”

Having made the transition from club cricketer to the professional game so comfortably, the paceman who packs a punch with the bat had faith in his ability to make the upward curve.

“I always believed that I could make the professional ranks and I know that I have a lot more to give because I’m still learning so much but I will admit that I’m a little surprised by how quickly things have happened for me. I’ve been lucky enough to get my chance and also fortunate enough to steer clear of injuries.

“My height does offer me something that few bowlers have, there are not too many 6’8” bowlers around bowling fast and so that works in my favour. But I’m always working on new skills and ideas; batsmen get to know about you and so it’s always harder in your second or third full year on the circuit but I think I can cause batsmen a few more surprises.

“I’ve worked really hard in the last couple of years and put in so many hours training and working on my game and for me, that’s a key to where I am at present but I know that I’ve still a long way to go.

“I’ve been able to see the importance of it all and it gives me the belief that I can get a lot, lot better. That’s what I’m striving to do, not only this winter but over the next few years or however long that I’m lucky enough to play the game.

“It’s been excellent to have the opportunities that I’ve been afforded this winter through the ECB Pace Programme, and the time at Desert Springs and now with the selection for the North-South series.

“I’m really looking forward to the next few months, I’m back on the Pace Programme in South Africa for a couple of weeks,  have four days again in Desert Springs and more winter training with Essex before I’m off to Barbados.

“Hopefully I’ll come back a better player. I’m happy with the technical side of my game, I feel in good shape physically and I’m looking forward to getting out on the pitch and showing what I can do.”