England news August 12, 2013

Lees, Wells and Barker get Lions calls

ESPNcricinfo staff

Eoin Morgan will captain England Lions in a two-day match against the Australians at Wantage Road starting on August 16, with the side including three players - Keith Barker, Luke Wells and Alex Lees - who will be making their Lions debut.

Morgan has had disjointed season so far, firstly due to his participation in the IPL and then because of a finger injury he sustained during the Champions Trophy. He has played just one County Championship match in 2013 and has drifted down the pecking order of candidates for the Test team.

Lees, 20, is the latest on the production line of batsmen from Yorkshire to progress through the England set-up. Earlier this season Lees hit an unbeaten 275 against Derbyshire and is averaging 59.12 from six Championship matches.

Wells, who plays for Sussex, is another opener enjoying a solid season, with 732 runs at 40.66 including two hundreds, while showing the ability to bat for long periods of time.

Barker, meanwhile, is enjoying a notable all-round campaign with the defending champions Warwickshire, where he is part of their formidable pace attack. Although he has had a truncated summer due to injury he has taken 25 wickets at 18.64 in the Championship alongside scoring 292 runs at 48.66.

Moeen Ali, the Worcestershire batsman who is one of just three players to cross 1000 first-class runs this season (the others being Chris Rogers and Joe Root), is rewarded for his form. The team also includes regular Lions representatives Gary Ballance, Jos Buttler, James Harris, Simon Kerrigan and Ben Stokes.

Northamptonshire were the original opponents for the match but they have qualified for Friends Life t20 Finals Day. Now some of England's fringe players will have the chance to face the Australians before another set of Lions cricketers play Bangladesh A in a one-day series next week. The presence of these Lions fixtures during a vital period of the county season has created some unease around the circuit.

Geoff Miller, the national selector, said: "With the Friends Life t20 Finals Day running over the weekend of this fixture, we have been unable to select from any of the sides involved in that competition for obvious reasons, plus there are a number of other domestic fixtures that run very close to this Lions game, so for practical reasons we had to recognise that a number of counties' players were unavailable.

"As is always the case with these fixtures, they are an excellent marker for judging the level of these players at a very high international standard and we look forward to seeing the team perform strongly against the Australian opposition."

England Lions XI: Eoin Morgan (capt), Moeen Ali, Gary Ballance, Keith Barker, Jos Buttler, James Harris, Simon Kerrigan, Alex Lees, Liam Plunkett, Ben Stokes, Luke Wells

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