Leics batsman James Taylor named England Lions captain at 21

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MELTON’S golden period of cricket was given another boost this morning after batsman James Taylor was named as England Lions captain for the first time against Sri Lanka A.

The news follows Stuart Broad’s impressive all-round showing against India this weekend, and will make Leics batsman Taylor, from Burrough-on-the-Hill, one of England’s youngest captains.

Taylor will lead England Lions in a four-day match at Scarborough on August 2 and three one-day games at Worcester (August 12 and 14) and Northampton (August 16). The 21-year-old already has form against Sri Lanka A after scores of 168 not out and 41 against the tourists during Leicestershire’s win at Grace Road last week.

It continues Taylor’s seemingly unstoppable rise in the national game. He said: “It is an honour to be captaining my country and I am really looking forward to it. I’m really pleased to be given the opportunity.”

Taylor will miss the county championship game against Kent and CB40 matches against Scotland and Durham, but will be available for the FL t20 quarter-final against Kent Spitfires.

Taylor, who passed 1,000 first-class runs for the season during Leicestershire’s game with Sri Lanka A, has previously performed well for Lions and was widely tipped to make the full England squad for last month’s one-day international series against Sri Lanka, but missed out. National selector Geoff Miller said: “The England Lions series against Sri Lanka A is an important opportunity for those younger players to gain valuable experience against international opposition and push for further involvement in England programmes this winter.

“The series will also give players a chance to press for inclusion in the upcoming NatWest Series against India.”

The four-day squad includes five England Lions debutants - Joe Root (Yorkshire), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Scott Borthwick (Durham), Stuart Meaker (Surrey) and Jack Brooks (Northants).

The one day squad comprises three players who have represented England in one day cricket this year in Ravi Bopara (Essex), Steven Finn (Middlesex) and Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).

Taylor will be in familiar company alongside five other members of the England Lions squad (Bopara, Jonny Bairstow, Woakes, Danny Briggs and James Harris) which finished last winter’s tour of the West Indies unbeaten.

England Lions four-day squad: James Taylor (Leicestershire, captain), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Scott Borthwick (Durham), Jack Brooks (Northants), Jade Dernbach (Surrey), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), James Harris (Glamorgan), Craig Kieswetter (Somerset), Stuart Meaker (Surrey), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire)

England Lions one-day squad: James Taylor (Leicestershire, Captain), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Scott Borthwick (Durham), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), James Harris (Glamorgan), Stuart Meaker (Surrey), Chris Nash (Sussex), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).

England Lions fixtures vs Sri Lanka A

Four-Day Match: Tuesday, August 2 to Friday, August 5 (Scarborough). One Day Series: Friday, August 12 (New Road, Worcester); Sunday, August 14 (New Road, Worcester); Tuesday, August 16 (Northampton).