The establishment of a cricket academy at Whanganui Collegiate School and the arrival of the new director of cricket have been delayed while the Covid-19 pandemic plays out.
Announced in December last year, the academy is a partnership between the school and the New Zealand Cricket Foundation.
The academy, a first between the foundation and a school, will be open to promising male and female cricketers of secondary school age.
The foundation will provide financial support to upgrade the school's existing indoor cricket training facility to complement the school's extensive outdoor pitches and nets.
Collegiate director of sport Barry Touzel said the refurbishment of the indoor facility, however, had been delayed.
"It's a refurbishment rather than a rebuild of our indoor facility and it is a month or two behind because of what's happening [Covid-19]," Touzel said.
"Everything else is in place and ready to go."
The programme set to be run by Collegiate's newly-appointed director of cricket and academy head coach Tom Dryden.
Dryden is no stranger to the Collegiate campus, doing a gap year recently following his dad, Simon Dryden, who also did a gap year as a tutor in Hadfield House in 1983.
"Tom joins us for the start of term 3 and travel restrictions into New Zealand aside is ready to take WCS cricket and WCS Cricket Academy to the next level, an exciting time for WCS cricket," Touzel said.
Growing up in Edinburgh and playing cricket from a young age, Dryden represented Scotland at U15, U17 and U19 levels before moving south to play in the Northamptonshire Premier League.
A wicket-keeper /batsman by trade, Dryden spent a year in Adelaide, Australia, playing grade cricket for the Glenelg District club. Training alongside the likes of ex-South African captain Johan Botha, current Australian ODI and T20 vice-captain Alex Carey and ex-Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait, Dryden developed a passion for the game and a knowledge of the elite playing and coaching level.
Playing for Leeds University and representing Bedfordshire at under-25 age group, the exposure to top-level coaches enhanced his love for the game.
Completing New Zealand Level 1 and ECB Level 2, Dryden is in the process of completing his ECB Level 3 qualification. A former Collegiate residential tutor in 2018/19, Dryden completed his undergraduate geography degree at the University of Leeds and hopes to arrive in New Zealand in July to take up this position.
New Zealand Cricket Foundation trustee John Morrison said this will be the first partnership of this nature between the New Zealand Cricket Foundation and a school.
"We are very excited to partner with Whanganui Collegiate School and do look forward to seeing young cricketers develop in this excellent environment.
"We were established in 1972 to support the development of cricket and to nurture the love of the game. We ran the Young Cricketer to Lord's scholarship, which has helped the likes of Martin Crowe and Ross Taylor develop their games after leaving school.
"This partnership is an exciting development for the foundation. Whanganui Collegiate School has a long and proud tradition as a cricket nursery, producing quality players who have gone on to senior careers, and it is well known for its excellent coaching, and extensive grounds and pitches.
"The new Whanganui Cricket Academy will build on that existing track record and facilities. It will be open to applicants from both New Zealand and overseas to develop cricketers who want to excel at senior levels of cricket, both male and female."
The partnership envisages the development of cricket tournaments and live-in coaching clinics which can be run at the school, especially during school holidays when the school's boarding accommodation facilities will be available to visiting players. The academy also aims to develop courses and qualifications in cricket umpiring and coaching.