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News

Eddie Jones adds to England's Australian brains trust

Eddie Jones, the England rugby coach, was in attendance at Lord's as the country's cricketers prepared for the first Test against Pakistan

George Dobell
George Dobell
12-Jul-2016
Eddie Jones, the England rugby coach, was in attendance at Lord's as the country's cricketers prepared for the first Test against Pakistan. Jones and his assistant, Steve Borthwick, watched on as England trained indoors at a rain-soaked Lord's and assessed the fitness of a number of players in and out of the squad.
James Anderson and Ben Stokes bowled in the nets as they continued to recuperate from shoulder and knee injuries respectively. Both hope to feature in Championship matches for their counties starting at the weekend. Mark Wood, who has been added to the Lions squad, was also in attendance, although he decided not to bowl indoors.
Steven Finn took part in the session despite a badly bruised right knee. Finn sustained the injury when he fell in his follow through while bowling at Scarborough a few days ago. He has had a scan, which showed nothing untoward, and was able to train with strapping over the bruise on Tuesday.
Chris Woakes missed training, however. He felt unwell and remained at the team hotel. A spokesman insisted he would be fine for the Test and said he was expected to train on Wednesday.
Jones and Borthwick had invited the England management - Trevor Bayliss, Andrew Strauss and Paul Farbrace - to dinner before the rugby union side's successful recent tour of Australia and the cricket management reciprocated here with a view to sharing ideas and experiences. The knowledge of Bayliss's fellow Australian Jones might be worth tapping into when England head Down Under to defend the Ashes in 2017-18.
Also invited to the session was the 19-year-old Lancashire legspinner, Matt Parkinson, who last month claimed five wickets on debut against Warwickshire at Old Trafford and has played just three first-class game. The England management hope that, by monitoring and encouraging the best county spinners, they can accelerate their progress in the game.
Wood was added to the England Lions squad for the Tri-Series against the A teams of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which starts in Cheltenham next Monday, after coming through a practice session at Lord's ahead of Thursday's first Test.
Wood, who underwent an operation on his left ankle in April, is in the early stages of his comeback and picked up his first wicket of the season in a NatWest T20 Blast fixture for Durham against Leicestershire on Sunday.
He has claimed 26 wickets in eight Tests to date, and played a significant role in England's 3-2 Ashes win last summer. He will play in a second Blast game for Durham at home to Northants at Chester-le-Street on Friday night before linking up with the Lions.
"The England medical staff have been working closely with Mark and Durham throughout, and a series of 50-over matches with the Lions offers a good opportunity for him to take the next steps in his return to cricket," explained James Whitaker, the National Selector.
"He is a great example of a player who came through the Lions with an outstanding tour of South Africa in the winter of 2014-15 to make his Test debut last summer, and his inclusion should give a boost to this Lions squad, as well as giving him the chance to work with the younger bowlers in the squad."
Meanwhile, the Lions are monitoring the fitness of Jamie Overton, who suffered a back injury when bowling for Somerset in their Specsavers County Championship game against Middlesex on Monday.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo