Joe Clarke earns Lions call; Vince captain
Joe Clarke, the 19-year-old Worcestershire wicketkeeper-batsman, has been included in the England Lions squad for their Twenty20 series against Pakistan A in December. James Vince, who was named in the full England squad for the T20 leg of the Pakistan series, was named captain while five other players from the full side - Sam Billings, Chris Jordan, Stephen Parry, Reece Topley and David Willey - are also included.
Clarke, who played in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup, made his maiden first-class hundred against Sussex at the beginning of September following a maiden List A ton against Gloucestershire in August.
The five-match T20 series comes at the end of the first part of the England Performance Programme (EPP) schedule for the winter which will include a batting and spin camp in Dubai, which will run concurrently to the main tour, and a fast-bowling camp in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
Zafar Ansari, the Surrey allrounder named in the Test squad yesterday, is part of the batting/spin camp and the T20 squad but his participation is subject to fitness after he suffered a dislocated thumb in the County Championship on Tuesday.
The pre-Christmas stage of the EPP and Lions programme is a chance for players to push their claims for selection ahead of the World T20 in India next March and for those who have just begun their careers - the likes of Billings, Topley and Willey - to gain further 20-over practice.
"With the World Twenty20 in India just six months away, the five-match T20 series for the Lions against Pakistan 'A' will form a particularly important part of our preparations for the tournament, ensuring that we can draw on a wider group of players who have recent experience of playing T20 cricket in sub-continental conditions," James Whitaker, the national selector, said
As revealed by ESPNcricinfo, Steve Rhodes, the Worcestershire director of cricket, will take an assistant coaching role alongside Andy Flower while Kevin Shine, the EPP's leading fast-bowling coach, will run the South Africa camp.
Alongside Clarke and Rhodes, Worcestershire are also represented by allrounder Ross Whiteley. Tymal Mills, the left-arm fast bowler who has conceded his career will probably be restricted to white-ball cricket due to a back problem, is named in the T20 squad. Overall, there are six left-arm bowlers in: Mills, Topley, Willey, Ansari, Whiteley and Parry.
Jake Ball, the Nottinghamshire seamer, has earned his first Lions call while batsmen Daniel Bell-Drummond and Tom Westley, who both hit hundreds against Australia during the Ashes tour, are also included along with Middlesex left-hander Dawid Malan.
Also attending the batting/spin-bowling captain Dubai will be Hampshire's Danny Briggs, the left-arm spinner, who has played one ODI and seven T20s for England. Mills and Ball will attending the fast-bowling group in South Africa along with Craig and Jamie Overton, Northamptonshire's Olly Stone and Gloucestershire's Craig Miles. Two allrounders, Jordan and Lewis Gregory, have been included in the Dubai programme.
The 12-day batting and spin camp in Dubai will start on November 11 while the 10-day fast-bowling stint in South Africa starting the same day. The fast bowlers will then join the squad in Dubai from November 24 ahead of the T20 series against Pakistan starting on December 7.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo