Bell gets Lions call and Key leads
Robert Key will lead a strong England Lions side in the tour match against the West Indians at Derby from April 28. Ian Bell, fighting for an England recall, is included while Sajid Mahmood also gets the chance to push his claims for a spot in the pace pack.
Key, after leading the Lions in New Zealand and the MCC against Durham at the start of the season, has another opportunity to show his leadership credentials ahead of the announcement of the captain for the ICC World Twenty20 squad.
Michael Vaughan, who yesterday told Cricinfo he was desperate for another chance at international level, hasn't been included, but will have a Championship game the same week. However, by the time the Lions match begins the Test squad will already have been announced.
Samit Patel is edging his way back into the selectors' good books after being omitted from the one-day squad in the West Indies for being unfit. He has started the season in promising style with 95 in his first Championship innings against Worcestershire before being run out.
"This is a really exciting summer for cricket in England and Wales and the Lions matches are excellent opportunities for players to push for England places," Geoff Miller, the national selector, said. "The Lions squads feature players who display qualities that are capable of winning matches for England, so these games are very important.
"Rob Key captained outstandingly well in New Zealand and then took the reins in similar fashion for the MCC in the champion county match, so he will continue to lead for the match against West Indies."
Tim Ambrose, who played the Barbados Test on the recent West Indies tour, takes the wicketkeeper's position ahead of James Foster and Adil Rashid is the spinner.
Squad Robert Key (capt), Stephen Moore, Ian Bell, Samit Patel, Jonathan Trott, Luke Wright, Tim Ambrose (wk), Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Sajid Mahmood, Chris Woakes