Cricket

Zafar Ansari's inclusion in England Lions squad subject to medical review

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Zafar Ansari has been named in England Lions' Twenty20 squad to face Pakistan A in Dubai - dependent on his recovery from injury.

Ansari, whose place in England's Test squad to take on Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates is also in doubt after he suffered a dislocated thumb playing for Surrey, is among 16 Lions to be led by Hampshire batsman James Vince in a five-match series in December.

England have also named an 18-man Performance Programme, split between South Africa and then the UAE in November.

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Those training camps will be led by former Test coach Andy Flower and with the assistance of Worcestershire's Steve Rhodes, both of whom will then work with the Lions this winter.

Joining Vince and Ansari on the two-week Lions Twenty20 tour before Christmas will be five more players with full international experience - Sam Billings, Chris Jordan, Stephen Parry, Reece Topley and David Willey.

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The England and Wales Cricket Board has explained that Ansari's place depends on a full diagnosis of, and projected recovery from, the injury he suffered to his bowling hand while fielding for Surrey.

The 23-year-old all-rounder was hurt on Tuesday trying to take a catch at cover-point, within hours of confirmation that he had been selected in a Test squad for the first time.

An ECB press release on Wednesday afternoon read: "Ansari's inclusion in both the Lions and EPP squads will be subject to a further medical review of his thumb injury later this week."

Worcestershire's 19-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Joe Clarke has been picked in both squads too, after a breakthrough first-class season.

National selector James Whitaker congratulated all who have been named for the Lions and EPP tours.

He added: "It is hugely important that we have a reserve of players who are ready to perform on the international stage when they get the opportunity, and the EPP and the England Lions play a vital role in identifying and developing the next generation of England cricketers.

"With the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India just six months away, the five-match T20 series for the Lions against Pakistan A will form a particularly important part of our preparations for the tournament, ensuring that we can draw on a wider group of players who have recent experience of playing T20 cricket in sub-continental conditions."

The Lions will return to Dubai to play a five-match one-day international series against Pakistan A in January.

England Lions Twenty20 squad (v Pakistan A): J Vince (Captain), Z Ansari, J Ball, S Billings (wkt), J Clarke (wkt), D Bell-Drummond, B Foakes (wkt), L Gregory, C Jordan, D Malan, T Mills, S Parry, R Topley, T Westley, D Willey, R Whiteley

England Performance Programme 2015-2016: Z Ansari, D Briggs, J Clarke, D Bell-Drummond, B Foakes, L Gregory, C Jordan, D Malan, S Parry, T Westley, R Whiteley, J Vince, J Ball, C Miles, T Mills, C Overton, J Overton, O Stone

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