A 14-strong squad has been selected for the Lions tour of Australia starting in November.
The Lions will be in camp alongside the England Ashes squad and will play two intra-squad matches in Queensland before taking on Australia A in a four-day match. The squad will return home on 16 December, which is the first day of the second Ashes Test.
The Lions squad is a breeding ground for player development as much as it is a list of the immediate next cabs off the rank. However, with Australia’s quarantine regulations as they currently are, this squad is closer to the latter as opposed to the former as if there are any further call-ups to the full squad they will have to come from here. If you were ever in any doubt as to what England’s “B” team would look like. Well, with the likes of Sibley, Foakes and Mahmood all involved, this is pretty close to it.
Light on cross-format batters
The reason for at least partial hesitancy when describing this as an out and out “B” team is the absence of Vince and Livingstone from the squad who both scored international centuries this summer. However, James Vince is set to take part in this winter’s Big Bash – so will be in Australia anyway – and other exciting white-ball batters – Livingstone, Ben Duckett, Joe Clarke and Harry Brook – have been left out, too. With the possible exception of Tom Abell, none of the batters included are anywhere near England’s short-term white-ball plans.
James Bracey returns to the international set-up
Bracey experienced a harrowing induction to the international game, registering just eight runs in his three innings against New Zealand in June. His returns for Gloucestershire when he went back to the county were fine if unspectacular and England have shown a vote of confidence in him by picking him again here. Not long ago, Bracey was considered the next cab off the rank to be batting No.3 for the Test side and only the cruelest of cricket fans wouldn’t be hoping he can perform well and work his way back towards the full set-up.
No Callum Parkinson
Whilst his twin brother Matt has been grabbing headlines this year, Callum has put in an excellent domestic season for Leicestershire and finished the County Championship season with 50 wickets, the second most for a spinner behind Essex’s Simon Harmer. Parkinson played a pivotal role for Leicestershire, bowling 120 overs more than anyone else in the team, however his average of 29 speaks of a reliable player as opposed to a dominating one and finishing the season playing in Division 3 may have been held against him. However, it is rare for an English spinner to play such a pivotal role for a county across a season so expect his name to crop up again.
Call-ups for Josh Bohannon, Jamie Smith, Liam Norwell and Rob Yates
Of the 14-man squad, Bracey, Crane, Foakes and Sibley have all played Test cricket. Whilst for Bohannon, Smith, Norwell and Yates this is their first call-up to the international arena. Bohannon plays for Lancashire and has a first-class average of 44 from 36 matches. Smith had a successful County Championship campaign for Surrey averaging 43.73 and captained their Royal London campaign at the age of 21. Finally, the Warwickshire pair of Norwell and Yates are called up having both been core components of the Bears’ title-winning side. Norwell, a 29-year-old seamer, took 54 wickets at an average of 17.85 whilst Yates, a 22-year-old opening batter, scored five centuries across the season and averaged 39.43.
Tom Abell (Somerset)
Josh Bohannon (Lancashire)
James Bracey (Gloucestershire)
Brydon Carse (Durham)
Mason Crane (Hampshire)
Matthew Fisher (Yorkshire)
Ben Foakes (Surrey)
Alex Lees (Durham)
Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire)
Liam Norwell (Warwickshire)
Matt Parkinson (Lancashire)
Dom Sibley (Warwickshire)
Jamie Smith (Surrey)
Rob Yates (Warwickshire)