The Worcestershire CCC website recently introduced an occasional new feature in which players and staff reveal ‘My Sporting Hero(es)’.

Kicking things off for this close season is all-rounder Ed Barnard who lifted four trophies at the County’s end of season Awards Night after a memorable season.

His cricketing hero when growing up was also an all-rounder in England legend Andrew Flintoff and his sterling exploits during the 2005 Ashes.

Barnard, who earned his first England Lions call-up last summer, said: “Andrew Flintoff, when I was growing up, was superb with bat and ball, amazing for England and a big character.

“I watched him a lot when he was at his peak and 2005 stands out to me, with England winning the Ashes for the first time in a long time,

“I remember watching that as a nine-ten-year-old, my peak watching age when you are looking up to people.”

As a staunch Newcastle United fan, it is no surprise that Ed’s hero away from cricket is England and Newcastle star striker turned TV pundit Alan Shearer.

He said: “I’ve been a Newcastle fan since I was a kid. My mum is a Geordie and we used to go to a few games.

“My grandparents lived up there so, whenever we went to see them, we tried to take in a couple of games.

“From there, my support just grew and I’ve tried to follow them ever since.

“Alan Shearer is an absolute legend. You put aside the goals he scored, which is still the record for the Premier League, and he wore his heart on his sleeve on the pitch.

“He put himself about and never backed away from anything and I think that’s something I really took to.”