Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Clarke Included In Lions Squad For Four-Day Clash With Afghanistan

Clarke Included In Lions Squad For Four-Day Clash With Afghanistan

Joe Clarke will make the switch from white ball to first class cricket after being named in the England Lions squad for the four-day match against Afghanistan which starts in Abu Dhabi tomorrow (Wednesday).

The Worcestershire batsman played in all three ODIs against the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, top-scoring with 42 in the final game as the Lions completed a whitewash.

Now the 20-year-old will be looking to stake his claim to be involved with the Lions during the second part of the winter programme.

They will undertake a five week trip to Sri Lanka in February and March to play two four-day games and five one-day matches against Sri Lanka A.

The Lions return home on Sunday evening and then Whitaker and the other England selectors will then finalise the squad for Sri Lanka.

Toby Roland-Jones will captain England Lions for the first time and Tom Westley will make his first appearance of the winter against Afghanistan.

Roland-Jones, one of the stars of Middlesex’s outstanding 2016 season, will become the third captain of the Lions in four matches.

Keaton Jennings led the team for the first two 50-over fixtures against the United Arab Emirates in Dubai and Nick Gubbins took over for the third.

Westley was the only member of the 16-strong party not to have played in the one-day series, but head coach Andy Flower confirmed he will definitely play against Afghanistan after naming him in a 13-man squad.

Flower said: “We’ve combined red-ball and white-ball training in our time in Dubai, and to have this first-class game against Afghanistan is a good opportunity for the guys to show what they can do – and also for James Whitaker, the National Selector, to see them doing exactly that."

For Afghanistan, the match is both historic – because they have never played any England team in a first-class fixture – and also valuable, as they prepare for an Intercontinental Cup fixture against rivals Ireland next March.