England news July 27, 2012

Morgan to captain England Lions against Australia


Eoin Morgan will captain England Lions in their two-match series against Australia A next month. The 13-man squad for the four-day matches at Old Trafford and Edgbaston includes three others with Test experience while every player has previously represented the Lions.

Morgan, Samit Patel, Jonny Bairstow and James Tredwell have Test caps to their name, while Craig Kieswetter, Stuart Meaker, James Taylor and Chris Woakes have also played one-day internationals.

The inclusion of cricketers who already play regular international cricket - such as Morgan, Kieswetter and Patel - shows how seriously the selectors are taking the matches ahead of the back-to-back Ashes series next year rather than using it as a chance to purely blood youth.

However, they stopped short of naming any of the current Test reserves such as Graham Onions or Steven Finn who are both in the mix to face South Africa at Headingley. The Australia A squad, which is led by Ed Cowan contains considerable experience, most notably Mitchell Johnson.

For Morgan the series is a chance to restate his Test credentials after his poor series against Pakistan earlier this year which led to him being dropped for the following tour of Sri Lanka. Since then Patel, Bairstow and now Ravi Bopara have been given middle-order roles in the Test team. However, Morgan showed impressive form in the recent one-day series against Australia including a match-winning, unbeaten 89 at Lord's.

With Bopara making an uncertain return to the Test side against South Africa and Bairstow struggling against West Indies earlier this season the No. 6 spot is yet to be cemented and a strong finish to the summer - with the Lions and Middlesex - will put Morgan back in contention.

Elsewhere the squad is a mixture of experienced county cricketers - Patel, Tredwell and the leading run-scorer of the season Nick Compton - plus young players who have already been integrated into the England set up. Taylor and Joe Root, who recently scored a double hundred in the Championship, are among the next generation of batsmen vying for an opportunity while Stuart Meaker is one of the quickest bowlers in the country.

Tredwell is accompanied in the spin department by Lancashire's Simon Kerrigan who was part of the squad to face the West Indians earlier this season but did not make the final XI at Wantage Road. From the team that won that match by 10 wickets, Michael Carberry (injury), Jack Brooks and Jade Dernbach are not in this squad along with Ian Bell who used that game as Test preparation.

Although the selectors see these two matches as crucial to the development of Test players they are likely to create further tensions with counties who will lose key names for Championship matches as the competiton enters its final third.

Jonny Bairstow, Matt Coles, Nick Compton, James Harris, Simon Kerrigan, Craig Kieswetter, Stuart Meaker, Eoin Morgan (capt), Samit Patel, Joe Root, James Taylor, James Tredwell, Chris Woakes

August 7, Old Trafford
August 14, Edgbaston

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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  • Andrew on July 30, 2012, 2:21 GMT

    @JG2704 - re: Woakes, they should probably tell the selectors that Woakes is a batsmen who soesn't mind trundling in for an over or two! @yorkshirematt - what you say has merit, although I wouldn't want the tour to end up being 2nd string county sides.

  • John on July 29, 2012, 20:04 GMT

    @Meety on (July 29 2012, 11:06 AM GMT) I hear what you're saying. I just wonder if number 6 (if we must persist) is a position where we could do with having a guy who can shepherd the tail etc and I'm not sure if Bell is up to that. Even vs SL and in the last test vs SA he didn't see it through. One poster criticised Bell for slow scoring rate which I thought was harsh but he rarely seems to see the job through. We do possibly need someone who will move the game forward now we are down but as you know I'd try to do it by adding an extra bowler. Woakes might be a good compromise as he is averaging 80 with the bat this year even though he is mainly a bowler. Broad is probably my favourite player but if they dropped him and brought in Finn and Woakes I'd still see it as a positive move and would not lambast the selectors as much as if they just dropped Broad or Bres for Finn. Maybe someone should tell the selectors that Woakes is just a batsman and he might get in

  • Matthew on July 29, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    @Meety Yes I understand. I think a better option would be to play county sides like this Aus A match against Derbyshire. That's a discussion for another day perhaps

  • Andrew on July 29, 2012, 11:06 GMT

    @JG2704 - assuming that the powers that be in England cricket hold that a 6/1/4 is Plan A & B - & anything else is a last reort, AND assuming that Bopara is not up to the job (assumptions) AND assuming Compton is the next cab off the rank for a top 6 spot. I wonder if it would be better to give him a spot at say #4? Reasons being unlike Taylor or Bairstow, he is a fairly experienced FC campaigner & probably doesn't need to serve an apprenticeship behind the top order & could be another ready made top order test batsmen (ala Trott). Batting him out of position maybe just passing on the "poisoned chalice" to another "newbie". Why not move Bell to #6 - he averages 60 from 20 odd tests there? Compton is a top order batsmen & #4 is not too big a change form #3! So your assumption regarding "...they want a number 6 who is a bit more free scoring..." - Bell's S/R is 57 @ #6 which is his best S/r in any position in Tests!

  • Andrew on July 29, 2012, 10:57 GMT

    @@yorkshirematt - I wasn't knocking your reasoning (preserving the integrity of the County season) I understood it. The main thing is, sooner or later you have to have other countries touring with development squads in your season, as you can't really play cricket in winter IN England!

  • John on July 29, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    @Honeymonster - Yeah , it's not great the timing clashing with the Notts game. We were unlucky with the weather last time vs Notts in a game we dominated with an under strength side. Re Compton , I think he could do a job at 6 for England as he has that temperament where he could steady an inns as he has done with regularity but I reckon they want a number 6 who is a bit more free scoring which is all very well but they are losing any stability by doing this.

  • Samuel on July 28, 2012, 8:46 GMT

    RodStark - probably exactly why he wasn't picked. He's definitely the back-up, they're looking at future options.

  • Matthew on July 28, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    @meety My point is that, while JB may come back for next year's Ashes given that no one seems to be able to keep hold of the no.6 slot, Root will certainly not be playing as he is a good few years away from possibly opening for England. It would be more beneficial to him and Yorkshire to play the rest of the season with us. It probably is more important for you lot though as the Aus A side seems to have quite a few test players in it and it makes sense for them to get experience of playing over here.

  • Rod on July 27, 2012, 23:23 GMT

    Interesting that Davies is not picked as wk. I thought he was Prior's test back-up.

  • Andrew on July 27, 2012, 22:08 GMT

    @yorkshirematt - as incumbent title holders of the Ashes - you may think you don't need the prep - we sure appreciate it!! @landl47 - I agree, A year ago I would of said Rikki who? (Actually seen his name plenty of times). He is having a good summer, & it is probably a blip, but then again he may just of mastered his domain? Either way, I was just thinking he maybe a good short term fox for the most obvious issue in the England line up.@yorkshire-86 - do think Tredwell is more of a short form option for England. @TheHoneymonster - I agree with what you said re: Woakes. In THEORY, IF FC stats are anything to go by, Woakes is a genuine #7, who SHOULD take wickets at test level, although that would mean Patel @#6 (I think), & the keeper in the top 5, which is an"odd" balance, (despite both potential keepers being good batsmen). == == == Looking fwd to this match up! Bring it on!

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