Yorkshire's Alex Lees and Liam Plunkett receive England Lions calls for Australia friendly (From Gazette & Herald)
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Yorkshire's Alex Lees and Liam Plunkett receive England Lions calls for Australia friendly
Alex Lees and Liam Plunkett are the latest Yorkshire players to earn England recognition this summer having been called up to the Lions team for a two-day friendly against Australia at Northampton, starting on Friday.
The in-form pair join Gary Ballance in the XI to face the tourists in a match that had been due to be between Northamptonshire and Australia before the former qualified for Twenty20 Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday.
It now means Yorkshire have had 14 players represent England from under-17s through to the senior team this summer.
Left-handed opener Lees, aged 20, has enjoyed a stunning debut season in the LV= County Championship, scoring 473 runs from six matches, including one hundred, a double hundred and another 50.
He became the county’s youngest ever double centurion when he scored 275 not out against Derbyshire at Chesterfield last month.
Ahead of today’s Yorkshire Bank 40 clash with the Unicorns at Headingley, he said of his Lions call: “I’m really pleased, and am looking forward to it.
“Obviously playing in my first season, I didn’t expect it. But it’s a nice added bonus for all the hard work that’s gone in. I’m not getting too far ahead of myself. Hopefully I can keep putting in the performances for Yorkshire.
“I’m really looking forward to playing Australia. I don’t think they’ll have a full team out, but their squad players will be playing, and it will be a really good test. I’m sure it will be a good game.”
Ballance will play before staying with the Lions for three one-day matches against Bangladesh A next week. It would then be a surprise if he was not called up to the full one-day squad for their late summer series against Australia.
Plunkett’s return to the England fold for the first time since early 2011 further vindicates the county’s decision to sign him from Durham over the winter.
The 28-year-old, who already has nine Tests, one Twenty20 and 29 one-day internationals to his name, is Yorkshire’s second leading wicket-taker in the Championship with 28 from eight matches at 24.42.
“We’ve got a brilliant set-up at the club,” said Lees.
“We’ve obviously had players away with the U17s, U19s and the full squad recently. It’s an added bonus that me and Liam are in the Lions squad alongside Gary, who’s already there. We’re in a good place now as a club.”
Yorkshire are searching for only their third YB40 win this season today. The Vikings were narrowly beaten by Leicestershire on Sunday, but should have performed better with bat and ball.
“We’ve got three games left. We set a target when we restarted YB40 to improve.
“The effort’s there, there’s no doubting that. But our skills need to be better. It is as simple as that,” said director of professional cricket Martyn Moxon.
“We are playing well for probably 50 out of the 80 overs, and that is clearly not good enough to win matches.”
Yorkshire’s England players: Jonny Bairstow, Tim Bresnan, Joe Root (all England senior team); Gary Ballance, Alex Lees, Liam Plunkett (all England Lions); Karl Carver, Matthew Fisher, Will Rhodes, Josh Shaw, Jonny Tattersall (all U19s); Ryan Gibson, Mosun Hussain, Jared Warner (all U17s).
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