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Thatscricket - News - England 'A' to compete in Duleep Trophy

Published: Wednesday, January 14, 2004, 15:24 [IST]
 
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London:England's selectors announced a 15-man 'A' squad in London on Tuesday that will compete in India's main domestic first-class competition, the Duleep Trophy.

After a week of preparation in Malaysia starting later this month, the squad will move on to India where they will also play three One-day matches against India 'A'.

All 14 players originally selected for the winter Academy programme in September, where England hope to develop their stars of the future, have been included along with Kent batsman Ed Smith who made his Test debut against South Africa in the 2003 home series.

Glamorgan fast bowler Simon Jones has been told by the selectors that if he proves his fitness on the 'A' tour he will be included in the full squad for England's forthcoming Test series in the West Indies.

Jones, 25, has been out of action after 14 months out with a freak knee injury sustained while fielding during the Brisbane Test just his second against Australia in November 2002.

Were Jones and England 'A' to reach the final of the Duleep Trophy, where the last scheduled day is March 8, that would leave the Glamorgan quick with just a few days break until England's first of four Tests in the Caribbean starting on March 11.

But in reality England chiefs will hope Jones has proved his fitness for the West Indies long before the first Test gets underway at Jamaica's Sabina Park.

England's chairman of selectors, David Graveney, said, "This is a fantastic opportunity for England 'A' and we are very grateful to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for allowing the team to compete in Indias main domestic competition."

Explaining Smith's inclusion in a squad where, Harmison apart, no-one else has played Test cricket, Graveney said, "Having discussed the composition of the squad with Rod Marsh, it was felt that the squad would benefit from the inclusion of an extra batsman.

"Ed Smith was unlucky to miss out on selection for the Test squad this winter and a tour of India will give him the ideal opportunity to further complete his development as a player."

Former Australia wicket-keeper Marsh, now an England selector and head of their Academy, will be on tour as 'A' team coach.

The squad, captained by Gloucestershire all-rounder Alex Gidman, departs for Malaysia on January 26.

Squad:

Alex Gidman (Gloucestershire, capt), Kadeer Ali (Worcestershire), Simon Francis (Somerset), Simon Jones (Glamorgan), Shaftab Khalid (Worcestershire), Michael Lumb (Yorkshire), Sajid Mahmood (Lancashire), Graham Napier (Essex), Scott Newman (Surrey), Kevin Pietersen (Nottinghamshire), Matthew Prior (Sussex, wkt), Bilal Shafayat (Nottinghamshire), Ed Smith (Kent), James Tredwell (Kent), Graham Wagg (Warwickshire)

Extras
Jones confident of playing in WI tour
afp.com

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