DEVON is to launch a new cricket academy named after former Test match umpire David Shepherd - and England coach Andy Flower will be the patron. Devon County Cricket Club wanted to find a fitting way to commemorate Shepherd, who died last year after a lon

DEVON is to launch a new cricket academy named after former Test match umpire David Shepherd - and England coach Andy Flower will be the patron.

Devon County Cricket Club wanted to find a fitting way to commemorate Shepherd, who died last year after a long fight against cancer. He was 69.

Shepherd played for North Devon CC and Devon before turning pro with Gloucestershire in 1964, then taking up umpiring when his playing days ended.

Shepherd stood in 92 Test matches, 172 one-day internationals and three World Cup finals. Roger Newman, the current director of cricket for Devon CCC, was previously academy chief at Warwickshire and an obvious candidate to head up the project.

Newman's involvement in the scheme is one of the reasons why Flower has given it his backing.

Said Flower: "I am confident that under the direction of Roger Newman, who I have known for many years, the academy members will be provided with an environment in which they will have the best opportunity to realise their potential."

Devon has been the most successful Minor County in the country over the past 20 years - eight one-day finals and seven appearances in the Minor Counties Championship play-off - and Newman is keen to keep the side out in front of the opposition.

"The academy system is an ideal way of doing this effectively and we are looking to working with the Devon Cricket Board Youth Association for the benefit of cricket at all levels in the county," said Newman.

Newman intends to take the academy to where the talent is by going round Devon - and further afield - to work with players.

Through contacts forged while serving on the ECB High Performance Group, Newman will be using expert coaches from First Class counties across the South and West of England.

Devon president Roger Moylan-Jones, who played with Shepherd in the county colts side more than 50 years ago, said he was pleased to see his old friend's name attached to the venture.

"We are all proud Shep's name will be to the fore and will live on in Devon county cricket," he said

'I am delighted with this excellent initiative, which is also a wonderful opportunity to remember David and to mark his major contribution to the game worldwide,' said Moylan-Jones.