Steve Rhodes will link up with the Young Lions for the first time tomorrow (Friday) when they fly out to Desert Springs Resort in southern Spain for four-day warm weather training camp.
Worcestershire’s Director Of Cricket will work alongside Andy Hurry who is leaving the role as Young Lions head coach following his appointment as Director Of Cricket at Somerset.
It is the start of the countdown and preparations in earnest for the Under-19s World Cup in New Zealand in January.
Rhodes will take charge of the squad as head coach on an interim basis when they head to South Africa for three weeks from November 22 to December 11 for a Tri-Series with the host nation and Namibia.
They will then depart on January 2 for the World Cup with Rhodes again at the helm and it is a challenge he is relishing.
He said: “It is an important winter with the Under-19 World Cup coming up in New Zealand in January and when I was asked to do the job, I was very keen.
“I felt that, albeit it short term, it might be something that I could help them with. England calling is really important to me.
“I’m really passionate about England cricket, passionate about the England team and developing England players.
“It fitted in nicely as long as the club were happy and as long as our coaching staff were happy for me to miss some of the winter here, then I was more than honoured to pick up the reins and try my best to do well with the guys for the winter.”
Rhodes added: “We’ve got a few days in Desert Springs coming up which is just a little bit of a warm weather training camp, get the lads together.
“That will be the hand over from Andy Hurry to me followed by a week-10 days in another three weeks time in South Africa for a Tri-Series against Namibia and South Africa which will be the one I take over.
“It will be good to meet all the guys. I’ve had a good luck at all the video footage of some of the players because a lot of them I don’t know, so to see them with my own eyes will be really good in both Desert Springs and South Africa.
“But everything is gearing up towards January which is the Under-19 World Cup and a big challenge.
“I think there are a few players injured and missing. We had a tough time against India but the exciting thing is it’s an opportunity to prove to people that England can play cricket at junior level.”
When the Young Lions arrive in New Zealand for the World Cup, they will play warm-up games on January 9 and 11 before the first of their three group games, against Namibia in Queenstown on January 15.
The final is in Tauranga on February 3.