Craig Overton named in both England Lions squads to tour South Africa in early 2015

Credit: Alexander Davidson
Credit: Alexander Davidson

Somerset all-rounder Craig Overton has been selected as part of two provisional England Lions squads for the tour to South Africa early next year.

The squads will cover separate first class and one-day legs of the tour which will include two four-day matches and five 50-over matches against South Africa ‘A’.

A finalised Lions touring party and the captain will be confirmed after the England World Cup squad announcement in December.

Craig has already been selected as one of seven fast bowlers who will travel to Potchefstroom in South Africa next month as part of a four-week England Performance Programme training camp. Today’s announcement will see him return to that country immediately after Christmas.

The provisional Lions squads for the New Year feature seven drawn from Yorkshire’s championship winning team and several players with plenty international experience, notably the return to England colours for Jonathan Trott.

Surprisingly, there is no place in either squad for Somerset’s Lewis Gregory who, like Overton, had an excellent 2014 in the championship.

Credit:Alexander Davidson
Credit:Alexander Davidson

National Selector, James Whitaker, said: “We believe that the 17 players provisionally included across the two Lions squads for the tour to South Africa in the New Year incorporates an excellent mix of international experience alongside fresh young talent.

“For the likes of Sam Billings, Craig Overton and Adam Riley to be playing alongside Sam Robson, Gary Ballance and Jonny Bairstow in a Lions tour is an exciting prospect for the future of English cricket, and I am certain that all of the players will learn a great deal from the experience.

“Jonathan Trott’s exceptional form and run scoring exploits for Warwickshire at the end of the summer has resulted in his selection for the first class fixtures at the beginning of the tour. Congratulations to him and to all of the players selected.”

The squad will be coached by Sussex CCC’s Mark Robinson, following on from his stint in charge of the Lions in Sri Lanka at the start of this year.

With no Test cricket for England this winter due to the World Cup, the first-class Lions matches will be an opportunity for players to press their case ahead of the Test tour of the West Indies next April.

UPDATE: Craig told the official club website this afternoon: “I feel that this is quite an achievement for me, especially after 2013 when I was out after suffering a stress fracture. All I wanted to do this summer was get back in the team, so to be selected to go to South Africa is a massive boost for me and something I wasn’t really expecting quite so soon.”

Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “ I am delighted that Craig has been selected for his second Lions tour and he thoroughly deserves it.

“Craig is one of several very talented young players we have on the staff at Somerset and his selection is a just reward for all of the hard work that he has put in.”

Credit: Alexander Davidson
Credit: Alexander Davidson

Provisional England Lions First Class squad to play against South Africa ‘A’:

Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Gary Balance (Yorkshire), Sam Billings (Kent), Jack Brooks (Yorkshire), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Adam Lyth (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Adam Riley (Kent), Sam Robson (Middlesex), Jonathan Trott (Warwickshire), James Vince (Hampshire).

Provisional England Lions 50-over squad to play against South Africa ‘A’:

Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Gary Balance (Yorkshire), Sam Billings (Kent), Jack Brooks (Yorkshire), Alex Lees (Yorkshire), Adam Lyth (Yorkshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Stephen Parry (Lancashire), Samit Patel (Nottinghamshire), Liam Plunkett (Yorkshire), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Adil Rashid (Yorkshire), Jason Roy (Surrey), James Vince (Hampshire)

Itinerary

  • 5-7 January – SA Invitational XI v England Lions, three-day match, UJ Soweto Oval, Johannesburg
  • 11-15 January – South Africa A v England Lions, four-day match, Boland Park, Paarl
  • 18-21 January – South Africa A v England Lions, four-day match, Chevrolet Park, Bloemfontein
  • 25 January – South Africa A v England Lions, 50-over match, Chevrolet Park, Bloemfontein
  • 28 January – South Africa A v England Lions, 50-over match, Diamond Oval, Kimberley
  • 31 January – South Africa A v England Lions, 50-over match, Senwes Park, Potchefstroom
  • 2 February – South Africa A v England Lions, 50-over match, Mamelodi, Pretoria
  • 5 February – South Africa A v England Lions, 50-over match, Sahara Willowmoore Park, Benoni