England news December 20, 2014

Trott named England Lions captain

ESPNcricinfo staff

Jonathan Trott has been named captain for the first-class leg of the England Lions tour of South Africa. The trip will be Trott's first representative cricket since leaving the Ashes tour of Australia last year following the Brisbane Test.

He had been named in the provisional squad in October and has now been confirmed in the leadership role ahead of other contenders such as Adam Lyth or James Vince, while Gary Ballance is no longer part of the tour after being named in the World Cup squad.

Trott tweeted: "I'm really happy to be given this responsibility with the @ECB_cricket Lions. It will a be an exciting challenge to lead the talented group!"

James Whitaker, the national selector, said that no one was looking too far ahead as far as Trott was concerned and that a cautious approach would continue to be taken.

"It's exceptional news. I have spoken to Trotty regularly and the improvement in his state of mind and readiness to get back involved in cricket has been huge for him," Whitaker said. "He can take great credit for that. To get back enjoying the game is a real bonus for Trotty and I've always said he should take one step at a time.

"Let's work with him to get the best opportunities for him. If it means he's simply a county cricketer in the future then that's still fantastic but we've given him a step staged return and he will be going into an environment which is slightly higher than county cricket.

"Who knows what will happen in the future. We'll take one step at a time and the great thing is Trott is back playing and enjoying cricket again."

Matt Dunn, the Surrey fast bowler, and Mark Wood, the Durham quick, have been added to the four-day squad which will play two matches against South Africa A in Paarl and Bloemfontein.

Alongside Trott's return, one of the intriguing elements of the tour will be the contest between those vying for England's Test opening role. Alastair Cook's current partner, Sam Robson, is on the tour but faces competition from the Yorkshire pair of Lyth and Alex Lees following their prolific 2014 season as Yorkshire won the County Championship.

Robson played all seven Tests against Sri Lanka and India in the summer, scoring a maiden hundred at Headingley, but did not do enough to completely assure himself of the position in the longer run, finishing the season with 336 runs at 30.54. England's next Test assignment comes with a three-match series in West Indies in April.

As yet there has been no captain named for the one-day squad which will play a five-match series against South Africa A. Ben Stokes and Harry Gurney, who were omitted from the World Cup squad, have been added to that party.

Four-day squad Jonathan Trott (capt), Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jack Brooks, Matthew Dunn, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Craig Overton, Liam Plunkett, Boyd Rankin, Adil Rashid, Adam Riley, Sam Robson, James Vince, Mark Wood

One-day squad Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jack Brooks, Harry Gurney, Alex Lees, Adam Lyth, Craig Overton, Stephen Parry, Samit Patel, Liam Plunkett, Boyd Rankin, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince

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