Craig Overton shocked by call-up to England Lions cricket squad
CRAIG OVERTON described his call-up to the England Lions squad as a "huge shock".
The 18-year-old Somerset all-rounder, from Northam, flew to Australia yesterday for an eight-match tour, which includes five one-day internationals against Australia A.
Overton was added to the original 16-man party last week after impressing during sessions with the ECB Potential Emerging Players Programme at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough.
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"I certainly wasn't expecting this," Overton told the Somerset website. "It came as a huge shock to be going on the Lions tour.
"I will be one of the youngest on the trip, along with Reece Topley (the Essex pace bowler) who I played with in the Under-19 World Cup last summer."
The Lions team, formerly known as England A, is made up of a mix of promising young players and those on the cusp of the full international team.
Overton, a right-hand batsman and fast-medium bowler, has played 16 one-day internationals for the England under-19s and made his first-class debut for Somerset in the County Championship match against Lancashire last April.
Andy Hurry, the Somerset coach, said: "Craig has been working very hard and he's been recognised for the ability he's got.
"He was been earmarked at a very young age as a player of real promise and potential, and this is a fantastic opportunity for him."
Overton's twin and fellow Somerset and North Devon player, Jamie, is on standby for the Lions tour.
The pace bowler will join up with the England under-19 squad in time for the five-match one-day international series against South Africa, starting in Paarl on Wednesday, February 13.
He was added to the squad after captain Shiv Thakor was forced to leave the tour by a broken finger.
England Lions squad for Australia tour: James Taylor (capt), Gary Ballance, Scott Borthwick, Danny Briggs, Varun Chopra, Rikki Clarke, Matthew Coles, Ben Foakes, Alex Hales, Simon Kerrigan, Stuart Meaker, Craig Overton, Toby Roland-Jones, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, James Vince, Chris Wright.
Schedule for Australia tour – Feb 7: Victoria 2nd XI. Feb 11: Victoria. Feb 13: Victoria. Feb 16: Australia A. Feb 18: Australia A. Feb 22: Australia A. Feb 25: Australia A. Mar 1: Australia A.