ENGLAND have named Test hopefuls Ravi Bopara, James Hildreth and Eoin Morgan in the Lions squad ahead of next week’s tour match against Sri Lanka at Derby.
Paul Collingwood’s post Ashes retirement has created a vacancy in England’s batting line-up and Bopara and Morgan are the favourites to replace the Durham stalwart, with Somerset’s Hildreth also thought to be in contention.
None of that trio have made an irresistible case for Test selection going on early season form. Bopara (right) at least has one century to his name, but Hildreth averages just over 20, while Morgan has played only once for Middlesex as a result of his stint with Kolkata Knightriders in the Indian Premier League.
Leicestershire’s Samit Patel has been offered the chance to re-launch his international career having fallen out of favour with the selectors following a number of fitness related issues, while his highly-rated county colleague James Taylor is another intriguing call-up.
In the bowing department Graham Onions, who has taken 12 wickets in his two county matches this season, returns to an England squad after a 15-month absence through injury.
Fast bowlers Ajmal Shahzad and Steven Finn will have the chance to force their way back into the Test picture, while Jade Dernbach will look to take advantage of the enforced absence of Warwickshire’s Chris Woakes.
Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen managed only 30 for Surrey against Cambridge University on his comeback in what was his first innings since a hernia injury cut short his involvement in England’s World Cup campaign back in March.