The England Lions have named a 14-man squad that includes four new faces and four test players for their tour of Australia next month, accompanying the senior squad ahead of the Ashes.
Surrey wicket keeper Jamie Smith is among the new faces, with Ben Foakes deciding to embark on another Lions tour after a winter of disruption in fitness.
Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson and Dom Sibley, who all missed Ashes’ full selection, are included, but there is no room for Liam Livingstone, who will follow the T20 World Cup on his way to Australia but to play. in the Big Bash.
Drummers awarded for good seasons include Rob Yates of Warwickshire and Josh Bohannon of Lancashire, while Alex Lees of Durham is a Lion for the first time in six years.
Tom Abell will be involved before joining Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash, while James Bracey, who had a tough Test baptism against New Zealand this summer, is included.
Mahmood, Brydon Carse, Yorkshire’s Matt Fisher and Warwickshire’s Liam Norwell offer rhythm options, but it’s a surprise to see Essex’s Sam Cook miss.
While the two spinners of Team Ashes are finger spinners, there are two legs in this group, Parkinson and Mason Crane. Sibley is included after being abandoned by England and losing his central contract.
The Lions travel to Queensland with Team Ashes on November 4 to self-quarantine and prepare for the series.
England will host two intra-squad matches, one over three days and one over four days, ahead of the Ashes. The Lions will be involved in these games and some will stay with the main team beyond the first test.
The Test and Lions teams are both smaller than expected, perhaps because England don’t want to complicate the selection too much.
They do, however, have many other players with test ambitions in Australia for the Big Bash, including Joe Clarke, Ben Duckett and Harry Brook.
The Lions team: Tom Abell (Somerset), Josh Bohannon (Lancs), James Bracey (Gloucs), Brydon Carse (Durham), Mason Crane (Hampshire), Matthew Fisher (Yorks), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Alex Lees (Durham), Saqib Mahmood (Lancs), Liam Norwell (Warwicks), Matt Parkinson (Lancs), Dom Sibley (Warwicks), Jamie Smith (Surrey), Rob Yates (Warwicks)