England Lions call-up for Craig Overton crowns excellent season

Coverton batsEngland’s selectors have called up Craig Overton as part of a 13-man squad for England Lion’s forthcoming series against New Zealand ‘A’ and Sri Lanka ‘A’ next month.

It’s fitting recognition for all the effort Craig has put in this summer for Somerset and the progress he has made with both bat and ball.

The Lions squad, which will be captained by Nottinghamshire’s James Taylor and coached by the ECB’s Technical Director of Elite Coaching Andy Flower, will play two 50-over matches against each of the touring teams as part of a triangular series.

One of the Lions’ games against Sri Lanka will take place at Taunton on 6 August, while the County Ground will also host the opening match of the series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka on 5 August.

Commenting on the squad, National Selector James Whitaker said: “With the Royal London One-Day International series against India rapidly approaching and next winter’s tour to Sri Lanka and ICC Cricket World Cup also firmly in our sights, this is the perfect opportunity for these players to impress the selectors in the 50-over format of the game.

“We are delighted to welcome Ravi Patel from Middlesex into a Lions squad for the first time and look forward to what promises to be a closely contested series against two highly competitive touring sides.”

This is the second time Craig has been selected for England Lions. He toured Australia as part of a Lions squad in early 2013 and also won a place on the ECB Potential Emerging Player Programme in South Africa at the start of this year.

Having lost the majority of his 2013 season to injury, Craig is having an excellent championship in 2014, with readers of the InCider recognising his form by voting him their player of the month award for June. And just last week he was included on the longlist for the 2014 LV= County Championship Breakthrough Player award.

In all, Craig has hit 306 championship runs so far this year at an average of exactly 34, with a highest score of 99. He has also taken 32 wickets at an average of 28.18, including his first first-class five-wicket haul in the match against Durham at Taunton in May. Like most of the other players in the squad, he has yet to play any 50 over cricket this summer.

Triangular Series schedule:

  • Tuesday August 5: New Zealand ‘A’ v Sri Lanka ‘A’ – Taunton
  • Wednesday August 6: England Lions v Sri Lanka ‘A’ – Taunton
  • Friday August 8: England Lions v New Zealand ‘A’ – Bristol
  • Saturday August 9: New Zealand ‘A’ v Sri Lanka ‘A’ – Bristol
  • Monday August 11: England Lions v Sri Lanka ‘A’ – Worcester
  • Tuesday August 12: England Lions v New Zealand ‘A’ – Worcester

The squad: James Taylor (Nottinghamshire) captain, Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Stephen Parry (Lancashire), Harry Gurney (Nottinghamshire), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Jason Roy (Surrey), Ravi Patel (Middlesex), Tom Smith (Lancashire), James Vince (Hampshire), David Willey (Northamptonshire)

Craig’s selection means he will be unavailable for Somerset’s 50-over Royal London matches against Warwickshire (A), Middlesex (A) and Sussex (H).

We say: Craig can be very proud to be selected for the Lions squad. It caps an excellent season for him, where he has been a key member of the Somerset side. We wish him all the very best for the triangular series and hope to see him in action for the Lions at Taunton on 6 August. We’re sure Somerset fans will give the Lions squad and the two touring A teams a good welcome during the two games at the County Ground.

Tickets for the two games at the County Ground are £10 for adults and £3 for children.