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ENGLAND asked an enlarged group of 55 players today to return to training ahead of the upcoming international cricket season, reflecting the likely need for separate Test and limited-overs squads to manage a congested schedule created by the coronavirus outbreak.
Format-specific squads will be selected at a later date, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) yet to announce the reshaped international calendar.
England had been scheduled to play Test series against West Indies and Pakistan, as well as limited-overs matches against Pakistan, Australia and Ireland. Matches in the shorter formats may have to be played during Test series.
All matches will be played without spectators.
Despite the size of the training squad, there was no place for Liam Plunkett — suggesting that the international career of one of the stars of England’s Cricket World Cup title win last year might be over.
Limited-over specialist Alex Hales, who was dropped from the World Cup squad for two failed drug tests, was also missing.
Fourteen uncapped players from the county game were called up to what does not represent an official England squad. The 55-man group will not be brought together in one place, with individual sessions at a host of county venues the only form of training currently approved as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.
“It’s really pleasing to be in a position to have players returning to training,” ECB performance director Mo Bobat said, “and a huge amount of work has been done by many to get us this far.
“The pool of players will give selectors strong options when it comes to selecting squads across formats further down the line, as we move closer to our aim of playing international cricket this summer.”
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