Dawson named in England's 15-man squad for World T20
Liam Dawson, the uncapped Hampshire spinner, has been named in England's 15-man squad for the World Twenty20, which gets underway in India next month.
Dawson, 25, who impressed the selectors during the recent England Lions series against Pakistan A in the UAE, was not originally chosen for the current senior tour of South Africa. However, he will link up with the squad ahead of the two Twenty20s next week, when England's coach, Trevor Bayliss, will get to assess his merits properly.
"I haven't actually seen him play a game," Bayliss said after the announcement. "I went to one or two of the Lions practices and saw him in the nets. From a bowling point of view, he gets a bit on the ball and he looks as though he's got something about him personality-wise. He can bat as well and he's a good fielder apparently."
Dawson admitted the call-up came out of the blue. "I wasn't expecting it," he told BBC Radio Solent. "I did pretty well for the Lions in the two months I was there with them in the UAE for 50-over cricket and also the T20 series.
"In the back of my mind, I thought potentially I might have a very small, outside chance, but thankfully I've been selected and I'm very excited about it."
Steven Finn, who was forced to withdraw from the tour with a side strain, has also been named in the 15, alongside six other players with previous experience of a World Twenty20. Eoin Morgan, the captain, is the only survivor from England's victorious campaign in the West Indies in 2010, with England choosing, as expected, to overlook Kevin Pietersen despite his impressive recent form in both South Africa's Ram Slam tournament and Australia's Big Bash League.
There is no place, either, for Stuart Broad - another veteran of the 2010 campaign - who has not played a 20-over match for England since 2014 but had been an outside bet for selection after being drafted into the limited-overs leg of the South Africa tour following injuries to Finn and Liam Plunkett, who also misses out.
Reece Topley and David Willey, the left-arm seamers who have been England's regular new-ball pairing in 50-over cricket, both make the trip, with Chris Jordan and the allrounder Ben Stokes providing England's other fast-bowling options.
James Vince, the Hampshire batsman who also impressed in the UAE with both the senior side and England Lions, is also included in the party, alongside Sam Billings, who will provide hard-hitting back-up to the likes of Jos Buttler and Jason Roy and is currently playing in the Pakistan Super League. James Taylor, however, does not make the cut despite impressive form for England's 50-over team in recent months.
Mahela Jayawardene, the former Sri Lanka batsman, will once again join England's coaching team for the first ten days of the tournament as a consultant, with Paul Collingwood, England's trophy-winning captain in 2010, working alongside Trevor Bayliss, Paul Farbrace and Ottis Gibson for the duration.
"The limited overs cricket played in the last eight months has been incredibly exciting to watch and these players deserve the honour of representing England at a global event," said James Whitaker, the national selector. "We have made significant progress during recent series with plenty more to come over the next few years.
"Liam Dawson has been selected after consistently strong performances for the Lions recently against Pakistan A. As a left arm spinning all-rounder he will be a very useful addition particularly in sub continent conditions.
"Congratulations to all selected and on behalf of the selectors good luck to Eoin and Trevor."
Andrew Strauss, director of England Cricket, said: "Mahela Jayawardene and Paul Collingwood proved very popular additions to the coaching team when they spent time with England in the UAE earlier this winter and I'm delighted that they are both able to help our T20 side. Their international experience, previous success at World T20 tournaments and, particularly in Mahela's case, knowledge of conditions make them ideal resources to tap into and I have no doubt the players will gain a huge amount from having them around the dressing room."