Finn and Bopara included in Lions squad
Steven Finn has been named in the England Lions squad for the tour of the West Indies in January 2011 where they will play in the first-class competition. Ravi Bopara, who was dropped from the limited-overs squad that played against Pakistan in September, also returns to Lions duty.
All those currently involved with the England Performance Programme in Australia having secured a place in the Lions touring party and are joined by Bopara, Adil Rashid, the Yorkshire legspinner and Glamorgan paceman James Harris. Chris Woakes, who has been included for the one-dayers in Australia in place of the injured Stuart Broad, will replace Finn halfway through the tour and the squad will be captained by James Hildreth.
Finn, 21, has not yet come into the reckoning for a place in England's one-day squad and was left out of the 17-man group to face Australia next month, but Bopara's inclusion seems to put paid to the possibility that he might force his way into the side for the World Cup, which takes place from February 19 to April 2. The same may be true for Kieswetter, who is part of England's squad for two Twenty20s against Australia on January 12 and 14, but has lost his place in the one-day team to Steve Davies.
The team will be participating in WICB's first-class regional tournament against each of the other seven competing teams - Barbados, Combined Campuses and Colleges, Guyana, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Windward Islands. The squad will depart for the Caribbean on January 24 and return to the UK on March 28 to prepare for the domestic season.
"The tour of the West Indies gives those players who have been working hard throughout the first part of the winter an opportunity to test themselves in a competitive environment and to continue to put forward a case for inclusion in England squads over the summer," said England national selector Geoff Miller.
"The England Performance Programme and England Lions tours are often crucial stages in a player's development and offer coaches and selectors an insight into whether players have the potential to develop into world class cricketers and thrive on the international stage. This is a balanced squad combining players who have had considerable exposure to international and first-class cricket with younger players who have already shown considerable promise."
England Lions squad James Hildreth (capt), Jimmy Adams, Jonny Bairstow, Ravi Bopara, Danny Briggs, Maurice Chambers, Jade Dernbach, Steve Finn (first half of tour only), Andrew Gale, James Harris, Craig Kieswetter (wk), Adam Lyth, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, Chris Woakes (second half of tour only)