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Malan to lead Lions

Dawid Malan will lead a strikingly youthful England Lions squad in a 50-over Tri-Series against the A-teams of Pakistan and Sri Lanka later this month.

The Middlesex left-hander, who has been captaining his county in the NatWest T20 Blast this season, is rewarded for his prolific performances for the Lions against Pakistan A last winter – which earned him a place in the senior England squad for the NatWest IT20 against Pakistan.

At 28, Malan is the oldest player in a 13-man squad which has an average age of 22 and includes three members of England’s squad for the Under-19 World Cup earlier this year – Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood, Sussex’s George Garton and the Surrey allrounder Sam Curran, who will join his older brother Tom in the squad for the last two matches of the series in Canterbury.

Liam Dawson and Sam Billings are the only two members of the Lions squad to have played senior international cricket. Northamptonshire’s Ben Duckett, Worcestershire’s Brett D’Oliveira and Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone are rewarded for their impressive county form this season with first Lions call-ups, and Kent’s Daniel Bell-Drummond, Worcestershire’s Joe Clarke and Somerset’s Jamie Overton join Malan, Dawson, Billings and Tom Curran to provide continuity from the winter.

“The Lions play a key role in our development of international cricketers, and we believe this is an exciting squad,”

said the National Selector James Whitaker.

“There is a balance of players who have represented the Lions before, with a few new faces for the future who we feel will benefit from the experience of and exposure to Lions cricket.

“We also had to be respectful to the counties who have important domestic fixtures, while again balancing that with our own competitiveness, and making sure we can perform well.”

Nine counties are represented in the squad, with Kent, Worcestershire, Lancashire and Surrey providing two players each – although Sam Curran will be available for Surrey’s Specsavers County Championship fixture at Hampshire from July 17-20 before joining the Lions. Andy Flower, who will again be the head coach, said:

“It is important for the Lions to play home matches in the summer as well as touring during the winter for a number of reasons, and we are grateful to the counties for recognising that if we are going to reap the benefits of playing abroad in the winter, we have to offer the equivalent opportunity to the developing cricketers of Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“We’ve had quite a large transition from last winter’s Lions squad to the national side, and that means we will have a much younger group this summer. That is going to make this a challenging series against some experienced cricketers from Sri Lanka and Pakistan, but it will provide a great opportunity for our young players to test themselves.

”We’ve been getting really good reports about the way he’s been captaining the Middlesex T20 side from Gus Fraser and others. It seems to have been affecting him in a positive way, so it’s good to give him this opportunity."

The series starts on Monday July 18 at Gloucestershire’s famous festival ground in Cheltenham, where the Lions play their first game against Pakistan A the following day.

Duckett, Bell-Drummond and Billings could then play on their home county grounds, as the Lions face Sri Lanka A in Northampton on July 21 before the last two matches in Canterbury.

England Lions squad for Tri-Series, July 18-25

Dawid Malan (Middlesex, captain)

Daniel Bell-Drummond (Kent)

Ben Duckett (Northants)

Joe Clarke (Worcestershire)

Brett D’Oliveira (Worcestershire)

Sam Billings (Kent, wk)

Liam Livingstone (Lancashire)

Liam Dawson (Hampshire)

Tom Curran (Surrey)

Jamie Overton (Somerset)

Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire)

George Garton (Sussex)

Sam Curran (Surrey) * to join squad for last two matches only

Tri-Series Fixtures

Monday July 18 – Pakistan A v Sri Lanka A (Cheltenham)

Tuesday July 19 – England Lions v Pakistan A (Cheltenham)

Thursday July 21 – England Lions v Sri Lanka A (Northampton)

Friday July 22 – Pakistan A v Sri Lanka A (Northampton)

Sunday July 24 – England Lions v Pakistan A (Canterbury)

Monday July 25 – England Lions v Sri Lanka A (Canterbury)


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