England announce 24-man training group ahead of Ireland ODIs

By Sports Desk July 09, 2020

England have named nine uncapped players in a 24-man training squad ahead of the three-match ODI series against Ireland.

Paul Collingwood will take charge of the group, which will live and train on-site at the Rose Bowl in Southampton ahead of the series, which starts on July 30.

Only eight of the players who were part of the 15-man squad that won the 2019 Cricket World Cup are included.

Seven players – Henry Brookes, Sam Hain, Laurie Evans, Phil Salt, Brydon Carse, Richard Gleeson and Tom Helm – have not represented England in any format.

Lewis Gregory and Liam Livingstone have previously won Twenty20 caps, while David Willey returns after missing out on last year's World Cup squad.

Alex Hales, who has not been included in a squad since he tested positive for a recreational drug in April 2019, was left out, with national selector Ed Smith touching on the batsman's omission.

"I have nothing to add to what Eoin Morgan has said about Alex," Smith told Sky Sports.

"We know how good a player he is, we know what happened, Eoin has been very clear about his comments and we support that."

Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali were left out of England's squad for the three-Test series against West Indies but are included in the training group, as is Jason Roy.

Related items

  • Diego Maradona dies: Peter Shilton says Hand of God star had 'no sportsmanship' Diego Maradona dies: Peter Shilton says Hand of God star had 'no sportsmanship'

    Peter Shilton was "saddened" to learn of the death of Diego Maradona but remains vexed by the Argentina great's Hand of God goal against England at the 1986 World Cup.

    At the age of 60, Maradona died on Wednesday, leaving Argentina and the football world in shock.

    Ill health and drug addiction had plagued the former Barcelona and Napoli star following his playing days, and he recently underwent surgery for a blood clot on his brain.

    Tributes have been paid by the likes of Pele, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Shilton has more reason than most to feel a sense of antipathy towards Maradona, who punched the ball past him for Argentina's first goal in their 2-1 quarter-final win against England 34 years ago.

    Shilton told the Daily Mail: "It has bothered me over the years. I won't lie about that now. People say I should have cleared the ball anyway and that I let a smaller man outjump me. That's rubbish. He had the run on me but that can happen.

    "He wouldn't have punched it if he knew he could head it, would he? Of course not. So I am OK with all that.

    "No, what I don't like is that he never apologised. Never at any stage did he say he had cheated and that he would like to say sorry. Instead, he used his 'Hand of God' line. That wasn't right.

    "It seems he had greatness in him but sadly no sportsmanship."

    Shilton tweeted on Thursday to describe Maradona as "the greatest footballer I ever played against without question", but he told the Daily Mail that attempts to unite him with Maradona over the years had come to nothing, having been given no assurances the little maestro intended to apologise.

    And although England's goalscorer in that 1986 match, Gary Lineker, has spoken fondly of Maradona, Shilton suspects many in the team that lost out that day at the Estadio Azteca share his grievances.

    "Most of the England team who played in Mexico feel the way I do to this day," Shilton said.

  • Diego Maradona dies: A God, a King – Reid pays tribute to football royalty Diego Maradona dies: A God, a King – Reid pays tribute to football royalty

    From the slums of Buenos Aires to the face of football. Former England midfielder Peter Reid hailed Diego Maradona following his death.

    Maradona – arguably football's greatest ever player – died at the age of 60 after a suspected heart attack, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) confirmed on Wednesday.

    Argentina and Napoli great Maradona was discharged from hospital a fortnight ago following brain surgery, having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma after the World Cup winner was admitted to hospital due to concerns over anaemia and dehydration.

    Reid came up against Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata head coach Maradona on the international stage and he told Stats Perform News: "He is like, in Argentina and Napoli – Naples – he is like God. He is like the King, royalty and that's Diego Maradona.

    Englishman Reid also recalled Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal and his stunner against England at the 1986 World Cup.

    Hailed by many as the greatest goal of all time, Maradona picked up the ball inside his own half and dribbled past four England players before calmly rounding Peter Shilton in the quarter-final clash – Reid one of the players left behind during the mesmerising run.

    The moment of magic arrived four minutes after Maradona handled the ball and scored as Argentina eventually went on to claim the World Cup 34 years ago in Mexico.

    "Well, he cheated, he cheated in the first goal," Reid said. "The second was an artist at work, at the best of his ability. I got to talk to him – through an interpreter – on a couple of occasions. He was a very warm human being and I think his legacy – I think he was a flawed character, I think his drug abuse was well known and that might have caught up with him.

    "But, I tend to go on the positives, on what he did on the football pitch; and what he did for the nation; and what he did for the likes of Napoli and Boca Juniors. I mean, you watch a game for Boca Juniors and there's still flags for him and there's flags in Naples about him. I mean the legacy is magnificent. So yeah, a flawed character, but was that because he didn't get any privacy?

    "Don't forget he was born in the slums of Buenos Aires and he made his way up to the pinnacle of his career. You've got to give him all the credit in the world for that. Yeah, we are all human beings and we have all got faults. I tend to look at his plus points, which is [that] he was one of the greatest players to ever walk the planet."

    Maradona, who went on to coach his country at the 2010 World Cup, had been hospitalised just days after turning 60.

    He appeared in a fragile state when he briefly made an appearance as his Gimnasia side played a match on the evening of his birthday last month.

    Maradona won 91 caps for Argentina between 1977 and 1994, scoring 34 goals at international level.

    He started his career with Argentinos Juniors before joining Boca Juniors and went on to play for Barcelona, Napoli, Sevilla and Newell's Old Boys before returning to Boca in 1995.

    Maradona had the best years of his club career in Italy, playing a massive part in Napoli winning the Serie A title in the 1986-87 and 1989-90 seasons.

    Playmaker Maradona also lifted the UEFA Cup with Napoli in 1989 and he won three trophies during his time at Barca – including the Copa del Rey in 1983.

    Maradona also had stints in charge of Textil Mandiyu, Racing Club, Al-Wasl, Fujairah and Dorados de Sinaloa in Mexico before being appointed by Gimnasia last year.

    "At Barcelona I think injuries hindered him," Reid added. "But when he went to Napoli, 'wow'. I mean, if you go to Napoli, he is like – is it fair to say God? He is like a God there. I mean I know it is a ridiculous statement, but he is!

    "And the other thing, I went to Argentina an awful lot watching football when I was a manager and a coach in Buenos Aires. And if you ask 99.9 per cent of Argentinians who the best player ever was, they will say Diego Maradona. Now why I am saying that is because of Lionel Messi who, let's have it right, is unbelievable. But, am I going to argue with Argentinians? No, no."

  • Smith 'finds hands' as Australia talisman prepares for India tussle Smith 'finds hands' as Australia talisman prepares for India tussle

    Australia star batsman Steve Smith believes he has found the rhythm and technique that had gone missing from his game, just in time for the home series against India.

    The former captain felt the disruption of the COVID-19 lockdown in his batting, with his once-assured mastery of the crease replaced by a sense something was not quite right.

    It is only in the past week, he said on Tuesday, that Smith has begun to feel like his old self.

    After struggling for form in the recent Indian Premier League, where he captained Rajasthan Royals, Smith is out to remind India what he is really about.

    The 31-year-old said: "The past few days I have found something... I have found my hands which I am extremely excited about.

    "I had a big smile on my face after training the other day, I walked past [Australia assistant coach] Andrew McDonald and said, 'I've found them again'."

    The rejuvenated Smith has even been sharpening up his batting skills in his hotel bedroom, which has not been overwhelmingly popular with team-mates.

    He said: "I've done a bit of shadow batting in the hotel and copped a few messages last night saying, 'stop tapping the bat down'."

    An in-form Smith would be a formidable opponent for any touring side, and a hugely valuable asset for Australia, whose three-match ODI series against India starts in Sydney on Friday.

    That will be followed by three Twenty20 clashes and four Test matches.

    Smith explained his technical tweaks, saying: "Theoretically it is a simple thing, but it is just getting that feel and the look of the bat behind my toe the right way and the way my hands come up on the bat.

    "It's hard to explain but it just hasn't quite been right until probably two days ago and I found a little something and everything just clicked in.

    "It's taken me a lot longer than usual, I don't know why… I pretty much didn't bat for four months at the start of COVID."

    Smith said he was "pretty disappointed" with his form for Rajasthan, for whom he scored just 311 runs in 14 innings at an average of 25.91, with only three half-centuries.

    "There are those players around the world that can hit sixes at will, and I'm probably not one of those," he said.

    "For me it's about playing proper cricket shots and hitting the gaps and manipulating the field as much as I can, and I probably went away from that a bit in the IPL."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.