Northants batsman Duckett gets England Lions call

ENGLAND LIONS CALL - Ben Duckett

ENGLAND LIONS CALL - Ben Duckett

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Northants batsman Ben Duckett has been rewarded for his brilliant form this season with a call-up to the England Lions to play in their summmer international series against Pakistan A and Sri Lanka A.

Duckett has been named in the 13-man squad for the 50-over competition, and it is his first call-up for the Lions after a summer that has seen him shine in all formats of the game.

A wicket-keeping all-rounder, Duckett has been selected for the Lions purely as a batsman.

He has previously captained the England Under-19s in a one-day series in South Africa in 2013, and also starred for them in the Under-19 World Cup.

Northants head coach David Ripley said: “We are very pleased for Ben, but not at all surprised.

“He has an incredible talent and has worked and trained very hard over the winter which has resulted in much success with the bat this season.

“I have little doubt that he has a long and exciting career ahead of him.”

National selector James Whitaker said: “The Lions play a key role in our development of international cricketers, and we believe this is an exciting squad.

“There is a balance of players who have represented the Lions before, with a few new faces for the future who we feel will benefit from the experience of and exposure to Lions cricket.

“We also had to be respectful to the counties who have important domestic fixtures, while again balancing that with our own competitiveness, and making sure we can perform well.”

Head coach Andy Flower added: “It is important for the Lions to play home matches in the summer as well as touring during the winter for a number of reasons, and we are grateful to the counties for recognising that if we are going to reap the benefits of playing abroad in the winter, we have to offer the equivalent opportunity to the developing cricketers of Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“We’ve had quite a large transition from last winter’s Lions squad to the national side, and that means we will have a much younger group.

“That is going to make this a challenging series against some experienced cricketers from Sri Lanka and Pakistan, but it will provide a great opportunity for our young players to test themselves.”

The Lions play Pakistan A at Cheltenham and Canterbury on July 19 and 24 respectively, and then Sri Lanka A at Duckett’s home ground in Northampton and Canterbury on July 21 and July 25 respectively.

England Lions squad: Dawid Malan (Middlesex, captain), Daniel Bell-Drummond (Kent), Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire), Joe Clarke (Worcestershire), Brett D’Oliveira (Worcestershire), Sam Billings (Kent, wicketkeeper), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire), Liam Dawson (Hampshire), Tom Curran (Surrey), Jamie Overton (Somerset), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), George Garton (Sussex), Sam Curran (Surrey) * to join squad on July 21 for last two matches only. Lions