The ECB today announced that Friends Provident is to become the official sponsor of England Age Group Cricket on a two-year deal.
Friends Provident, who already sponsors the Friends Provident Trophy, will give its backing to England men and women’s U19s, men’s U17s and U15s and become title sponsor of regional U17, U15, U14 and U13 competitions. The teams will be collectively known as 'England Age Group Cricket sponsored by Friends Provident'.
Friends Provident is the first sponsor of all England Age Group Cricket, and begin the deal supporting the England U19 team, who made a winning start against Ireland yesterday in their quest to become ICC U19 World Cup Champions in Malaysia.
The England U19 World Cup shirts will be branded with the Friends Provident logo on players’ leading arm. The England U19 also enjoy televised matches with Sky Sports committed to showing two England U19 matches per home series, this year against New Zealand U19 on August 14 and 15.
Speaking on the partnership, ECB Commercial Director John Perera said, “The ECB and Friends Provident have built a very strong relationship in a relatively short space of time through their title sponsorship of the Friends Provident Trophy”.
“I am sure we will develop a similarly innovative approach to the partnership with England Age Group Cricket and we are delighted that Friends Provident has chosen to support the future development of our cricketers as well as one of our leading First Class competitions”.
Ashley Taylor, Senior Manager, Group Communications at Friends Provident said, "Friends Provident is delighted to be supporting England Age Group Cricket including the England Women’s U19s team. This sponsorship, along with the Friends Provident Trophy, shows our commitment to developing the England stars of the future.”
“Supporting England Age Group Cricket reinforces our growing association with the sport, so is an exciting time for both Friends Provident and the development of rising international stars."
The ECB and Friends Provident will profile, via friendsprovident.com/cricket, the top 6 players in the Elite Player Development Programme and follow their progress throughout the season.
More than 40 players have progressed from the England U19 team to the England team, including Ian Bell, Alastair Cook and Owais Shah. Ashes winners Isa Guha and Nicky Shaw both began their international careers with the England women U19 team.