Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes will take over as head coach of the Young Lions – the England developmental squad – on an interim basis until the end of the ICC Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand early in 2018.
Rhodes, who has been director of cricket at Worcestershire since 2006, stands in for Andy Hurry following his appointment as director of cricket at Somerset.
Recognition for Rhodes at England level comes after he guided Worcestershire to their fifth promotion in 11 years, an achievement with player development at its core.
David Parsons, the ECB’s performance director, said: “Losing Andy at the start of a busy and challenging winter left us needing to find a high-quality replacement, and we believe that appointing Steve Rhodes on an interim basis is an excellent solution.
“Obviously he is a highly experienced and respected coach as a result of his success with Worcestershire. He has already made a significant contribution to our International Pathway through his work with the England Lions in their training camp in Dubai and white-ball series against Pakistan A in the winter of 2015-16.
“He has also spent time with the senior England set-up over the last two summers. And Worcestershire have an outstanding record of contributing players to all levels of the Pathway in recent years, with five involved again this winter – including Adam Finch and Dillon Pennington in the Young Lions squad.”
Rhodes will work alongside Hurry in the early stages of the Young Lions winter programme, before taking over ahead of the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand before returning to Worcestershire after the tournament in early February.
The ECB will appoint a permanent successor to Hurry in early spring and it would be a surprise if Rhodes, who has been highly committed to the county game since he made his Yorkshire playing debut 36 years ago, became a candidate for a full-time post.
Rhodes said: “It is an honour to be asked to work for your country at any level, and I’m really excited about this chance to work with the Young Lions this winter. I’m grateful to everyone at Worcestershire for allowing me to take this opportunity.
“I really enjoyed my time with the Lions in Dubai, and learned a lot from working in an international environment which I’ve been able to take back to Worcester for the last couple of seasons.
“I’m grateful to everyone at Worcestershire for allowing me to take this opportunity – and I’m lucky to have such high-quality staff who will relish the extra responsibility with me being away.”
Rhodes will join the Young Lions at a warm-weather training camp at the Desert Springs Resort in southern Spain from November 11-14.
He will then take charge when the squad head for South Africa from November 22 to December 11, for a tri-series which also includes Namibia, before departing for the World Cup in New Zealand on January 2. The first of three group games is against Namibia in Queenstown on January 15 and the final is in Tauranga on February 3.