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Men’s Cricket Smith to stick with what he knows for Sri Lanka tour

ENGLAND are preparing to name their limited-overs squad for the forthcoming tour of Sri Lanka, with national selector Ed Smith saying today that he is unlikely to veer too far from a tried and trusted white-ball unit.

The party will be national selector Smith’s first overseas pick since taking the reins earlier this year, but while he has shown a tendency for bold calls in the Test arena, the limited-overs group is much better settled.

With a home World Cup next summer, the emphasis is likely to be more on reinforcing that group and tinkering with roles in different conditions than any radical rethinks.

Eoin Morgan’s men will play five one-day internationals in October, followed by a solitary Twenty20 on the island.

The core batting unit of Jason Roy, Alex Hales, Jonny Bairstow, Morgan, Joe Root and Jos Buttler should remain intact, with Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali all inked in as all-rounders.

Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone has a chance of earning a shot as the spare batsman, a role so often taken by Sam Billings, having previously proved his skill in Asian conditions for the Lions and also developed his status as an extra bowling option.

Moeen and Adil Rashid will travel as first-choice spinners, with helpful pitches in Sri Lanka meaning they could be joined by a third — with Hampshire’s Liam Dawson considered a safe pair of hands.

Lancashire’s up-and-coming leg-spinner Matt Parkinson will also have warranted discussion, but if he gets a chance it may be in the standalone 20-over clash.

The same could be true of Pat Brown, the 20-year-old Worcestershire seamer who excelled on Finals Day and finished as the country’s top short-form wicket-taker this year with 31.

David Willey is one major injury doubt due to the back injury which brought an early end to his season with Yorkshire. That could open the door for Sam Curran, who is close to a like-for-like replacement as a left-arm seamer and talented batsman.

The 20-year-old had an impressive series against India in the Test arena and made his ODI bow against Australia at Old Trafford in June.

Senior paceman Liam Plunkett has also had injury problems and a judgement will be made whether to keep the door open for the 33-year-old to play some part in the latter stages of the tour or leave him out entirely to regain fitness.

Tom Curran and Jake Ball will be hoping to retain their spots, with Chris Jordan’s status as a T20 specialist set to continue.

Elsewhere, Stokes and Hales have been charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the England and Wales Cricket Board and will face a disciplinary hearing in December.

An independent Cricket Discipline Commission was tasked with leading an internal investigation into an incident involving the England pair outside a Bristol nightclub in September last year.

Stokes denied a charge of affray and was cleared following a seven-day trial at Bristol Crown Court last month.

However, the all-rounder and Hales will have to answer to two counts of breaching ECB Directive 3.3, which states: “No participant may conduct themself in a manner or do any act or omission at any time which may be prejudicial to the interests of cricket or which may bring the ECB, the game of cricket or any cricketer or group of cricketers into disrepute.”

The CDC, who have the remit to impose penalties including an unlimited fine or suspension and termination of registration, ruled the disciplinary panel hearings will be held in London on December 5 and December 7.

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