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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  • Michael on August 16, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    Would have liked to have seen Adil Rashid rewarded for a solid season with Yorks, Kyle Hogg is another who hasn't seemed to have won recognition despite two solid seasons. It seems the cream is rising to the top. The years strongest counties are providing most of our best young players (Yorks,Sussex,Durham and Warwickshire)

  • Neil on August 14, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    I am surprised Sam Robson is not included. A right handed opener is clearly a position England need to settle on soon, since they have doubts about Compton and Root still needs to prove it is his right position. It would also set down a marker, that England are saying they want him, because I suspect the Australians must be thinking he would be worth sounding out.

  • Simon on August 14, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    I'd have liked to see Luke Wright get a go. His First Class form for Sussex has been excellent offers slightly better than part time seam up. Could definitely bat at 6 or 7 in the test side until Bairstow bucks his ideas up.

  • Sriram on August 13, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Does Aus have a XI to play? i see Cowan, Warner, Khawaja, Hughes, Smith, Wade, Falkuner, Bird, Starc, Agar/Lyon..but its the Wattos and Haddins that will need runs dont they?A big game for all 3 bowlers, one of them will play at Oval and Starc could be back unless Aus dont want to creat the rought for Swanny, but then you play the best player irrespective of conditions. I see Starc playing coz he can swing, can't he!

  • Samuel on August 13, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    @Colm - he's already in the Lions side to face Bangladesh A. Also, with Warwickshire having a game over this fixture, the ECB are trying to be a bit more judicious with who they select: they were rightly criticised for selecting 3 players from the Bears that clashed with a Championship fixture earlier in the summer, so they've taken into account the counties themselves a bit more this time. As someone else has pointed out, with Middlesex not having a game, it's actually surprising there's not a few more involved: I'd have thought they'd have liked a look at Robson, especially as he doesn't play limited overs cricket and would have been available anyway and has just qualified earlier than thought to boot .I think he is certainly a more immediate prospect that Wells, for example.

  • Dummy4 on August 13, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    So Boyd Rankin left Ireland to play for England?, yet he isn't even in their Lions squad. He's entitled to play for England and if he does then I wish him all the best, but why be a back up for England, when he could've been a hero for Ireland.

  • mark on August 13, 2013, 10:02 GMT

    the selection of harris is a joke,hardly played and hardly took a wicket,left field thinking as usual and what dont they already know about Morgan /Butler et al !!

  • Duncan on August 13, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    @MattyMatty well, I can guarantee Lees WON'T be playing in the 5th test, even if he scored 200 in this game. Very promising, but it's just not the way this England set-up does things - throwing in a player with a few first class games.

  • Mark on August 13, 2013, 8:47 GMT

    Shame some people don't give players a chance to turnaround careers and learn from mistakes.

    Plunkett has had a great season for Yorkshire who happen to be to of the first division with Liam contributing with bat and ball.

    You should look more closely at this seasons form rather than have prejudiced views that are out if date.

  • Duncan on August 13, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Good to see Barker in the Lions at last after watching most of his Warkwickshire team mates get picked ahead of him. Moeen Ali is a good shout too - a stand out player in a struggling batting line up and a very decent spinner too.

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