Lumb and Kieswetter named for World Twenty20
The uncapped Hampshire batsman, Michael Lumb, has been named in England's 15-man squad for the World Twenty20 in the Caribbean next month, while Craig Kieswetter has been named as the sole wicketkeeper in the party, ahead of the current Test and ODI incumbent, Matt Prior.
There is also a recall for Ravi Bopara, who has not featured for England since last summer's Ashes but has been starring for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL, as well as the Sussex and former England Lions captain, Michael Yardy, whose slow-left arm spin and innovative middle-order batting could well find a role on the sluggish Caribbean surfaces.
"We believe we've picked a balanced squad that can meet the needs of the Twenty20 format," said England's national selector, Geoff Miller. "Aggressive batting with variation, and strength in depth and various bowling options that accommodate the conditions and surfaces in the West Indies. Our fielding, which is such a vital aspect of limited-overs cricket, has improved markedly and there's no reason we can't perform well in what will be a challenging global tournament."
Kieswetter's inclusion in the squad was telegraphed by his hasty inclusion for England's recent tour of Bangladesh, on the strength of a matchwinning half-century for England Lions against the senior side in Abu Dhabi back in February. He went on score a maiden ODI hundred in his third appearance for England at Chittagong.
"On the recent tour of Bangladesh, Craig Kieswetter showed what he is capable of in international limited-overs cricket and as a wicketkeeper at the top of the order he gives us options down the order," said Miller. "Craig has improved over time and his selection indicates real competition for places which is only healthy for the England team. Despite missing selection for this format of the game Matt Prior very much remains in the England set-up and a part of our plans.
Lumb, meanwhile, has been gaining valuable experience of Twenty20 cricket with Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, and he could well challenge Bopara as Kieswetter's likely opening partner. "Lumb has consistently performed well in limited-overs cricket for Hampshire and has also impressed during his time in the IPL and with the England Lions," said Miller. "As a powerful left-hander, Michael adds aggression to our batting and has the ability to complement the rest of the line-up."
On Yardy's return to the England set-up, Miller commented: "Yardy has also performed at a consistently high level for his county, Sussex, in limited-overs cricket and knows his game inside and out. Both Michael and Ravi Bopara have earned recalls to the England squad after going away and working hard on their cricket with excellent results."
England's seam attack will be led by the fit-again James Anderson and Stuart Broad, with Tim Bresnan a probable inclusion in the starting XI following an impressive winter. Ajmal Shahzad and Ryan Sidebottom complete the pace department, with Sidebottom's inclusion something of a surprise following an injury-ravaged winter.
Jonathan Trott and Joe Denly, who opened the batting for England in their last Twenty20 international, against Pakistan in Dubai last month, have both been omitted. England are drawn in Group D alongside West Indies and Ireland, and their first match against the hosts will be in Guyana on May 3.
Squad Paul Collingwood (capt), James Anderson, Ravi Bopara, Tim Bresnan, Stuart Broad, Craig Kieswetter, Michael Lumb, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Ajmal Shahzad, Ryan Sidebottom, Graeme Swann, James Tredwell, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy.