With England’s cricketers about to enter a packed international summer, the selectors have taken the precaution of announcing an expanded training squad. 55 players have been named ahead of battles against West Indies, Pakistan, and Ireland and, among that number, there are 14 new faces.
With test match and white ball squads expected to be unique, there’s a chance for those players to become permanent fixtures in the national set up, but who should be watched in the weeks ahead?
England’s first test against the West Indies is now scheduled to start on July 8th, with two further tests to follow. Pakistan are also due to arrive for test and limited overs games, while Ireland make the short hop across the Irish Sea for a series of One Day Internationals.
The priority is the Ashes next year and, as underdogs, England will be keen to see how the new faces can improve the test side. Joe Root’s men are outsiders in current Ashes cricket betting markets at 11/4 with bet365 but, if some crucial areas are reinforced, the tourists may be more competitive than those odds suggest.
Essex’s Dan Lawrence enjoyed a successful tour of Australia with the England Lions, making his highest first-class score in the process. Lawrence also bowls some useful off spin and can be an option for the selectors in any of the three formats.
Warwickshire’s Sam Hain is likely to have been marked down as a limited overs specialist, but he is another player who can switch seamlessly from the red ball to the white ball game. The Sussex pair of Laurie Evans and Phil Salt can be destructive in T20 cricket, while Surrey’s Will Jacks made a 25-ball century in a T10 match in 2019.
Yorkshire’s Tom Kohler-Cadmore has a more patient approach that will see him earmarked for the test squad. It’s a good mix of batting talent, and it suggests that the future is bright in this department.
International sides across the world are seeking out pace, and England’s training squad includes players capable of exceeding the 90mph mark. Warwickshire’s Henry Brookes has suffered with injury problems in his fledgling career but, if he can stay fit, he is almost certain to have a future in England’s national set up.
Up at Durham, fans have been speaking in glowing terms about Brydon Carse. Born in South Africa, the paceman is another to have impressed on the recent Lions tour. Jamie Overton, Richard Gleeson, Tom Helm and Ollie Robinson complete the list of seamers, while Surrey’s Amar Virdi is the only uncapped spinner to be called up.
Completing the 14 is Gloucestershire wicket keeper James Bracey who is also a capable batsman with five first-class hundreds to his name.
None of the 14 uncapped players are guaranteed to make their international debut this summer, but the crammed schedule will surely offer a chance for some of those new names. It’s an exciting time for spectators, and it will be fascinating to see how England manage their three squads in the weeks ahead.