ECB announce rebranding of England A team June 15, 2007

Solanki captains England Lions

Cricinfo staff

Vikram Solanki: leading England Lions against West Indies © Getty Images
Vikram Solanki has been named as captain of the England Lions (formerly England A) team that will play West Indies in a one-day warm-up match at Worcester next Thursday.

Described by the chairman of selectors, David Graveney, as a team comprised of the "best available" players, the squad does not include any players from Durham, Essex, Hampshire or Warwickshire, as they are involved in Wednesday's semi-finals of the Friends Provident Trophy. This means that the likes of Graham Onions, Phil Mustard, James Foster and Dimitri Mascarenhas were not considered.

"It's a great opportunity for the next-best to show what they can do," said Graveney. "The selectors will be closely monitoring performances by the England Lions next week and it will provide a further opportunity for players on the fringe of the international side to press their case for selection in our one-day squad for the NatWest Series."

The squad includes four players who were involved in England's recent World Cup campaign: Ed Joyce, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and the 36-year-old wicketkeeper, Paul Nixon, who feared his brief international foray might have over when he was omitted from the Test series in favour of Matt Prior. But Graveney defended his selection. "If Prior broke his finger tomorrow, who would we play?" he asked. "It makes sense for Nixon to have a look at the opposition."

Commenting on the renaming of the England A team, the ECB's commercial director said: "England Lions is an exciting new brand which reflects the importance of the team in preparing players for the demands of international cricket." The team's fixtures against India later this year will be broadcast live across Asia, and a further announcement about the team's winter tour plans will be made in due course.

England Lions squad 1 Will Jefferson, 2 Ed Joyce, 3 Vikram Solanki (capt), 4 Owais Shah, 5 Michael Yardy, 6 Alex Gidman, 7 Paul Nixon, 8 Tim Bresnan, 9 Stuart Broad, 10 Kabir Ali, 11 James Anderson, 12 Gareth Batty.