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Parsons to skipper Unicorns

Squad of recreational players to compete in Clydesdale Bank 40

Parsons: Unicorns captain

Former Somerset all-rounder Keith Parsons will captain the ECB Unicorns, a recreational team tasked with taking on the first-class counties in this summer's Clydesdale Bank 40 competition.

Selectors Mark Alleyne, Phil Oliver and Min Patel narrowed down more than 200 players initially recommended to a final squad of 21 - none of whom have current county contracts.

The team, branded the Unicorns, have been drawn in Group A of the 40-over tournament - which starts on April 25 - alongside Lancashire, Glamorgan, Somerset, Surrey, Sussex and Worcestershire.

A clutch of other former first-class players are selected for the Unicorns, including Parsons' fellow ex-Somerset batsman Wes Durston.

Unicorns team manager Gordon Child is confident his squad contains a winning blend of up-and-coming and tried-and-tested cricketers.

Balance

"The Unicorns squad is a balance of youth and experience, and we are very much looking forward to competing in the Clydesdale Bank 40," he said.

"For the younger players aspiring to play first-class cricket, this is an opportunity to learn from their more experienced team-mates and really test themselves and understand the attributes needed to succeed at this level.

"It will be a real challenge for the squad, but preparations are going well ahead of our first game against Surrey."

Unicorns squad: Jahed Ahmed, Arfan Akram, Christopher Brown, David Burton, Wes Durston, Ned Eckersley, Carl Greenidge, Neil Hancock, Mark Hardinges, Stephen Humble, Josh Knappett, Thomas Mees, Chris Murtagh, Michael O'Shea, Sean Park, Keith Parsons (capt), Chris Peploe, Richard Querl, Zoheb Sharif, Duncan Snell, Jackson Thompson