"It is an important first brick in the structure of the English Cricket Board which will be up and running on 1 October," said Ossie Wheatley, the chairman of the Cricket Foundation.
A major objective of Wheatley's is for the 17-year-old finished products to emerge from the centres as good as those who graduate from the highly- successful Australian Academy.
A cash injection of pounds 2.2m from the Test and County Cricket Board plus a guarantee of pounds 1.9m over the next three years has handsomely backed a development project which will cost pounds 2.38m overall.
The first centre of excellence for young hopefuls in the Under-12 to Under-17 age group is to be set up at Durham University, which has produced 30 county players.
Wheatley added: "The long-promised restructuring of cricket in England and Wales is underway. Every county in the country - 38 County Boards - will benefit from this investment. The emphasis is on developing better quality young cricketers, particularly 11-16-year-olds."
All 38 County Boards have received grants, six amounting to six figures, plus pounds 135,000 to Durham University in three annual awards of pounds 45,000.
n The Test and County Cricket Board's disciplinary hearing into the positive drug test by the Sussex bowler Ed Giddins was suspended after four and a half hours at Lord's yesterday, and will resume today. The 25-year-old, who toured Pakistan with England A last winter, tested positive for an illegal substance after a championship match against Kent at Tunbridge Wells in May. A second test produced the same result.Reuse content