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Key happy with Lions role

Lions leader admits personal ambitions at the top of the agenda

Key: England ambitions

Key: England ambitions

Rob Key leads out the England Lions against West Indies on Thursday hoping to press his own international claims.

"I think personally in the future he'll (Bopara) be one of our best batsmen, up there with KP, he's just got so much potential."

Rob Key

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Kent skipper Key leads out his bunch of England hopefuls against the tourists at Derby, with the Windies playing their last tune-up before taking on Andrew Strauss' men at Lord's next week in the first Test.

New England selections Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions have both previously played for the Lions, along with Ravi Bopara, and Key agrees that every player will be desperate to showcase their ability to England selectors.

Ian Bell will have a point to prove, while Sajid Mahmood, Tim Ambrose and Liam Plunkett have all tasted England duty before.

"These games are all about individual agendas, which I don't think is a bad thing," conceded Key.


"If your agenda is to go out and score as many runs as you possibly can to get yourself in the England team then I'll take that.

"From a captaincy point of view, if there are people wanting to stake a claim and get into that England team, my job is all about making sure they get that opportunity.

"It's not about whipping someone out of the attack if they bowl two bad overs, it's about trying to give everyone a fair crack at it. That's the way I see these games and by doing that it's a pretty easy thing to manage."

Being tipped as a possible candidate to captain England's ICC World Twenty20 challenge, Key admitted he needs to remain unselfish as Lions skipper despite his own ambitions.

"I suppose I could actually shaft some of them, but I don't believe you can live your life like that," he joked.

"I would hate one of the bowlers to feel they didn't get a fair go at it because I was the one making the decision about how many overs he has bowled. I try to make sure everyone gets a chance to stake a claim for England and I'm in the same boat as those people."

Backing Bopara

Key backed the inclusion of Bopara as number three for England, saying the Essex man will grow into one of England's top batsmen.

"I think personally in the future he'll be one of our best batsmen, up there with KP, he's just got so much potential," added Key.

"So personally I'm glad Ravi's in there at number three, I think he'll have a fantastic England career, although it's a shame for everyone else.

"The fact is we haven't played a lot of cricket and there is a lot of things coming up so it's a tough job for the selectors.

"There's a lot of rain around and people could be unlucky getting out so it's probably one of the toughest decisions the selectors have had to make."