CRICKET: Essex bowler Sam Cook has been named in England Lions’ squad to face South Africa next week.

The 24-year-old has been in fine form for Essex this season, claiming 23 LV= Insurance County Championship wickets at an average of 19.78 and playing a big role in Simon Harmer’s side qualifying for the Vitality Blast quarter-finals.

And ECB performance director Mo Bobat will be paying close attention to everyone involved.

“It’s always great when we can bring some of our best and highest potential players together, particularly to take on senior international opposition," said Bobat.

“The two games provide an excellent opportunity to continue to grow our depth and assess players’ readiness for England.

“The squad reflects a balance of England’s next best players and some future players of note, as well as high performers from this season’s Vitality Blast campaign.”

Somerset skipper Tom Abell will captain a 13-strong squad to take on the Proteas in two 50-over matches, at Taunton on July 12 and Worcester two days later.

Three players with full international experience have been included, Tom Banton, David Payne and Ben Duckett, with others rewarded for strong showings in the Blast.

Three in-form Warwickshire players have received the call, with batters Sam Hain and Adam Hose recognised for prolific campaigns with the bat and left-arm wrist spinner Jake Lintott joining them.

Seventeen-year-old leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, Will Smeed, Steve Eskinazi, Benny Howell and George Scrimshaw complete the group that will be led by England’s assistant coach Paul Collingwood.


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