TOM Helm has what it takes to make a real impact as a county cricketer – and maybe even as an international, according to one of his former mentors.

The 17-year-old pace bowler, who has been at Chesham Cricket Club for 10 years, was thrilled to be drafted into the Middlesex CC Academy for the summer, but 2012 has just got better for him after he has landed a professional contract, starting in September.

Director of cricket Angus Fraser gave him the good news and Chesham CC wasted no time in expressing their pride, posting congratulations on the club website and stating: “He is a wonderful role model for the young players at Chesham to aspire to and thoroughly deserves every opportunity he gets.”

Club secretary Steve Ayres, who also worked with Helm as Bucks CC’s development coach, has revealed more of the ingredients that could push his former protégé towards a glittering future.

“The thing about Tom is that he is a great listener. He puts what you tell him into practice, and that means he is getting better all the time,” he said.

“His deliveries are getting quicker every year and he bowls at 80mph already, which puts him on a par with most county cricketers. He is also a really clean hitter of the ball and could develop into a real all-rounder.

“It’s way too early to say whether he could end up playing for England like Alex Hales [who played for Gerrards Cross as a youngster], but there are similarities, and with more opportunities in the short form of the game, who knows?”

Helm, who will play for Tring this summer to experience a higher grade of cricket, said: “I’d like to class myself as an all-rounder and I think the academy director, Graham West, classes me as one.

“I have played a number of games for the twos and haven’t really batted for them, so I would like a chance to show I can bat.”

Helm discovered his love for cricket at the club in Ley Hill when he was seven or eight, but moved to Chesham, deciding it would give him a better chance to fulfil his dream of a career in the game.

He said: “Ley Hill do love their cricket, but they are a very social side as well and never used to take it too seriously.

“I can remember training with them and as soon as we had finished, the other kids would ride off on their bikes, here there and everywhere. I thought that wasn’t for me as I wanted to take it seriously and see how I got on.”