Hopefully the old adage is true – a strong Yorkshire means a strong England. If it is, then the future of English cricket is in safe hands after no fewer than seven of the Championship winning Yorkshire side have been included in the England Lions squad for their tour of South Africa.
Yorkshire openers Alex Lees and Adam Lyth are joined by fellow batsmen Jonny Bairstow and Gary Ballance alongside the bowling trio of Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett and Jack Brooks.
Four of the seven have already experienced Test cricket for England and I wouldn’t back against the other three also gaining full recognition at some point in the future. Lees and Lyth are certainly on the radar of the England selectors after some superb performances this summer.
If England had a winter Test tour, instead of concentrating on ODI cricket ahead of the World Cup, then I would have expected the full England squad to be dominated by Yorkshire players also.
Let's not forget Yorkshire’s Joe Root who is an integral part of Team England in all forms of cricket and should be for a very long time barring injury or illness.
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Is there a perception that Yorkshire are looked upon more favourably than other counties?
England have named two provisional 14-man squads for the tour of South Africa. One squad will concentrate on the two four-day games arranged against South Africa A whilst the second 14-man squad will play five 50-over games.
Yorkshire’s contingent have been selected for both squads and should play a full part in all games across all formats. However, the squad is only provisional at the moment and is dependant on the make-up of the full England World Cup squad.
The initial squad, to be managed by ex-Yorkshire bowler and now Sussex coach Mark Robinson, looks very strong with a number of players already representing England at Test level. Opener Sam Robson has been included and he will feel he has a point to prove after a disappointing summer where he had a number of opportunities but failed to fully capitalise.
One of the more pleasing selections is that of Jonathan Trott who has seemingly recovered from the problems that have blighted him in 2014 and finished the season in superb form for Warwickshire. He will be hoping that 2015 is the start of his recovery and a return to the full England squad.
Added to this experience will be a number of exciting youngsters hoping to make their mark in the game. Sam Billings, Adam Riley and Craig Overton fall into this category.
Yorkshire will hope that when their players return from England duty, hopefully without injuries, they can hit the ground running as the Headingley club look to retain the Championship title they emphatically won this season.
Although it will be a non-stop winter Yorkshire are most certainly proud of their players and hope that their County Championship success can have a bearing on England’s future success.
Provisional first-class squad to play against South Africa A: J Bairstow (Yorkshire), G Ballance (Yorkshire), S Billings (Kent), J Brooks (Yorkshire), A Lees (Yorkshire), A Lyth (Yorkshire), C Overton (Somerset), L Plunkett (Yorkshire), B Rankin (Warwickshire), A Rashid (Yorkshire), A Riley (Kent), S Robson (Middlesex), J Trott (Warwickshire), J Vince (Hampshire).
Provisional 50-over squad to play against South Africa A: J Bairstow (Yorkshire), G Ballance (Yorkshire), S Billings (Kent), J Brooks (Yorkshire), A Lees (Yorkshire), A Lyth (Yorkshire), C Overton (Somerset), S Parry (Lancashire), S Patel (Nottinghamshire), L Plunkett (Yorkshire), B Rankin (Warwickshire), A Rashid (Yorkshire), J Roy (Surrey), J Vince (Hampshire).
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
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