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Middlesex quintet make England Lions winter squads for Sri Lanka tour

Keaton Jennings will lead the England Lions in their four-day and one-day series against Sri Lanka-A next February and March, with five of Middlesex's current squad also named in the squad.

The Durham opener, who joined a select band to score a century on Test debut in Mumbai last week after being called from the Lions camp in Dubai to replace the injured Haseeb Hameed in the England squad, will be joined in Sri Lanka by both Hameed and Ben Duckett. Hameed has been included in a 15-man squad for the first section, which is due to include two four-day matches against Sri Lanka A, while Duckett is in a separate 14-man squad for a five-match 50-over series.

Jennings is one of ten players included for both sections - with Tom Alsop, Joe Clarke, Liam Livingstone, Ben Foakes, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Ollie Rayner, Craig Overton and Tom Helm, the 22-year-old Middlesex bowler who was fast-tracked from the Pace Programme to the Lions programme after impressing in Dubai.

Hameed, Nick Gubbins, Tom Westley, Toby Roland-Jones and Jack Leach have been selected for the first part of the tour, with Duckett, Daniel Bell-Drummond, James Fuller and Josh Poysden coming in for the 50-over series – Poysden, Warwickshire’s 25-year-old leg-spinning all-rounder, having impressed, like Helm, when invited to join the Lions training camp in Dubai.

James Whitaker, the National Selector who watched the Lions beat Afghanistan in an historic first-class match in Abu Dhabi last week, said:

“The Lions play such an important role in bridging the gap between county and international cricket, and after a successful training camp in the UAE culminating in an excellent win against Afghanistan, this tour of Sri Lanka is a great opportunity for the players to gain experience of playing on the subcontinent.

“Keaton Jennings impressed everyone on the Lions programme, with his leadership skills as well as his batting – he was named captain for their one-day games against the UAE, and scored a century in the first. That has already led to his call into the England Test set-up in India, but the Sri Lanka tour offers him the chance to gain further captaincy experience as well as playing some high-quality cricket in different and challenging conditions.

“Haseeb Hameed had also made such a promising start in Test cricket before it was cut short by injury. Like Keaton and Ben Duckett, who will be returning to the Lions after playing some brilliant innings for them in the home Tri-Series against Sri Lanka A and Pakistan A last summer, I know he will relish the chance of playing some quality cricket in Sri Lanka in the New Year.

“Congratulations also to Tom Helm and Josh Poysden. They have been on the selectors’ radar for a while as players of promise, and that’s why they were invited to join the Lions in training in Dubai – where they made a big impression on the Lions coaches.”

Details of the fixtures have still to be finalised with Sri Lanka Cricket, but will be published as soon as possible.

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