Tom Westley, Mark Wood and Keaton Jennings have all been named in the England Lions squad for a training camp in Australia in November and December.
All three played Test matches for England this summer and will be on hand in Australia should they be required to feature in the Ashes.
Westley is one of three of the stars of Essex’s triumphant season in the County Championship to be rewarded with a call-up alongside Dan Lawrence and Jamie Porter.
Ben Duckett completes a quartet of players with Test caps in the squad, and the Lancashire all-rounder Liam Livingstone is the fifth member of the squad with senior international experience.
Porter and Lawrence made their debuts for the Lions this summer and the England selectors have included four players yet to play for the Lions – Dom Bess, Paul Coughlin, Alex Davies and Amar Virdi – although both Bess and Virdi spent time training with the Lions squad in the summer, and Coughlin played in the North-South Series earlier this year.
James Whitaker, the National Selector, said: “This camp provides an opportunity for emerging young talent and some players with international experience to work hard on their game in Australia, in excellent facilities, under the guidance of Andy Flower and our other lead coaches. The players selected have a range of experience, and we believe they are an exciting group.
“This is a great chance for them to impress, before we select another Lions squad for the games against West Indies A in the second half of the winter. We would expect a number of other players to be in contention for that squad – for example Haseeb Hameed was not considered for the Australia camp to avoid him having to rush back from the injury he suffered recently playing for Lancashire.”
The Lions will spend a week at the Performance Centre in Loughborough before flying to Brisbane on November 14, for a two-week camp with a red-ball focus culminating in a three-day match against a Queensland XI at the Allan Border Oval from November 27-29 – although this will not be an official England Lions fixture.
They then head west to Perth for two weeks, focusing on white-ball skills during which they will play three T20 matches against a Scorchers team who will be preparing for the Big Bash.
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The Lions squad for a seven-week trip to the West Indies in 2018, including three four-day matches and three 50-over fixtures, will be selected in December, along with the squads for the North-South Series which follows in Barbados in March.
Chris Silverwood, the head coach at Essex, will join the Lions for a second consecutive winter, as fast bowling coach – with Adam Hollioake, the former Surrey and England captain, also appointed as fielding coach.
Lions: Dom Bess (Somerset), Joe Clarke (Worcestershire), Paul Coughlin (Durham/Nottinghamshire), Alex Davies (Lancashire), Ben Duckett (Northamptonshire), George Garton (Sussex), Nick Gubbins (Middlesex), Tom Helm (Middlesex), Keaton Jennings (Durham/Lancashire), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Liam Livingstone (Lancashire), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Jamie Porter (Essex), Amar Virdi (Surrey), Tom Westley (Essex), Mark Wood (Durham).
November 14 – depart for Australia.
November 15-29 – Brisbane, including three-day match against a Queensland XI at Allan Border Oval from 27-29
November 30 – December 16 – Perth, including T20 matches against Perth Scorchers on 11, 13 and 15
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