Lewis Gregory’s development into a consistent wicket taker in all forms of cricket was rewarded today (Tuesday) with his first full England call-up.
The Devon-born all-rounder was named as part of an 11-man squad for the one-off one-day international with Ireland at Malahide, Dublin on Friday 8 May.
The news was announced this lunchtime, shortly after 22-year-old Gregory returned figures of 6-101 in the current county championship game against Middlesex, his second five-wicket haul of the season.
The England squad to take on Ireland will be led by James Taylor – captaining his country for the first time – and, including Gregory, includes five players yet to be capped by England in any format.
Reacting to his selection, Gregory said: “It’s hugely exciting and a massive honour. I’m absolutely buzzing at the moment! Last year was really good for me and it’s been a solid start to this summer so far. I’m really happy with where my cricket is at the moment and hopefully I can go there and show what I can do. I’m very excited and looking forward to it.”
Gregory revealed he wasn’t expecting to get the call. “Not at all,” he said. “It was a really nice surprise. Matt Maynard took me to one side last night and told me the news and needless to say I was really chuffed. It’s a huge opportunity and I can’t wait to see what I can do on the big stage. I’m going to go out there, enjoy myself and do what I do here for Somerset.”
Matt Maynard the Somerset Director of Cricket said: “It’s absolutely fantastic news for Lewis and for any young player to receive that call is a great honour, and to be part of that squad it will be very exciting.
“We are very proud of him and it is testament to the great work that Jason Kerr has done with him over the years.”
A former England U19 captain, Gregory spent the winter as part of the England Potential England Performance Programme (PEPP) along with fellow Somerset fast bowler Jamie Overton. The programme included an 18-day intensive training camp at the High Performance Institute of Sport in Potchefstroom.
Jonny Bairstow is the only member of the Test squad in the West Indies who has been included in the squad for Dublin, although the selectors may add one or two more once the team for the third Test in Barbados has been finalised later this week.
Those playing in the Test Match will only arrive back in the UK on 7 May, just one day before the game in Dublin, ruling them out of contention.
England will use the game as the first step towards identifying a nucleus of players for the next World Cup as they start to rebuild after a disastrous tournament in Australia and New Zealand. As such this is a wonderful opportunity for Lewis to stake an early claim.
Talking about the squad he would be leading at Dublin, James Taylor said: “To be given the opportunity to lead your country is a huge honour. There are still some very experienced and talented cricketers in that team who I’d have been delighted to have as my captain, so it is a privilege and one I’m going to relish.
“It’s going to be brilliant leading an England team in a one-day international. We know it will be a tough game against Ireland and this match provides a great chance for us all to show we can play a huge role in limited overs cricket in years to come.”
National selector, James Whitaker, said: “We are expecting a very competitive match against a talented Ireland side and this fixture gives us a great opportunity to look at players who have performed well in county cricket and for the Lions.
“We are starting to identify players we believe can make a real impact in limited overs cricket in the next four years as we build towards the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 and these players have a huge opportunity to stake a claim for further opportunities this summer.
“James Taylor has played with many of these players with England and England Lions and his experiences leading Notts Outlaws make him an ideal captain to lead a young and dynamic side with Eoin Morgan currently in India at the IPL.
“We will add a number of players to the squad once the side for the final Test against West Indies has been selected.
“On behalf of the selectors I would like to congratulate all players on their selection and wish Peter Moores and the side all the very best against Ireland.”
England ODI squad to play Ireland
James Taylor (Capt) (Nottinghamshire)
Zafar Ansari (Surrey)
Jonathan Bairstow (WK) (Yorkshire)
Sam Billings (Kent)
Tim Bresnan (Yorkshire)
Steven Finn (Middlesex)
Lewis Gregory (Somerset)
Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire)
Jason Roy (Surrey)
James Vince (Hampshire)
David Willey (Northamptonshire)
The call-up means Gregory will miss Somerset’s tour match against New Zealand, starting on 8 May, although it’s possible he may have been rested for that game in any event.
It remains to be seen if he plays in Somerset’s game against Worcestershire at New Road starting on 3 May or is subbed out at a later stage.