Morgan handed Lions chance
Middlesex left-hander has spent early season playing in IPL
Last Updated: 11/05/11 3:22pm
Morgan: remains in Test contention despite IPL stint
Eoin Morgan will have the opportunity to press his Test claims for the second-string England Lions against Sri Lanka.
With the number six spot up for grabs following Paul Collingwood's Test retirement, several contenders - Morgan, Ravi Bopara, James Hildreth and James Taylor - have been named in a 12-man squad for the fixture at Derby from May 19-22.
With the first Test starting in Cardiff on May 26, the tour match provides an ideal setting for a 'bat-off'.
While Morgan looms as the man in waiting after touring Australia last winter, Bopara has made a solid start to the new county season and made an unbeaten 136 in his last four-day game against Glamorgan.
"England Lions games are crucial stages in a player's development and give selectors a good indication of whether players are ready to make the transition into the full England side."
Geoff Miller Quotes of the week
Morgan is joined in the squad by two of his fellow Ashes winners with Steven Finn and Ajmal Shahzad both selected, while Graham Onions makes his return to England ranks after missing most of last year with a back injury.
Somerset's Hildreth will skipper the team, which also includes seven of the players who played in the Lions side that was unbeaten during their winter tour of the Caribbean.
"It has been very pleasing to see many of the players selected for the England Lions squad last winter make good starts to the domestic season and they have been rewarded with an opportunity to play a strong Sri Lankan side and push for further international honours," said national selector Geoff Miller.
"England Lions games are crucial stages in a player's development and give selectors a good indication of whether players are ready to make the transition into the full England side.
"Furthermore it's an excellent chance for fans to enjoy watching a talented young England squad take on a very good Sri Lankan Test side."
The one major surprise is the inclusion of Nottinghamshire all-rounder Samit Patel after team director Andy Flower questioned his desire to play for his country earlier this year.
Flower revealed in January, when England named their World Cup squad, that Patel had not been included because he had failed to heed warnings about his fitness.
Patel's international career has been undermined by his battle with his weight, but his inclusion would seemingly suggest he has shown signs of improvement.
Squad: J Hildreth (Somerset - captain), J Adams (Hampshire), J Bairstow (Yorkshire - wkt), D Briggs (Hampshire), R Bopara (Essex), J Dernbach (Surrey), S Finn (Middlesex), E Morgan (Middlesex), G Onions (Durham), S Patel (Nottinghamshire), A Shahzad (Yorkshire), J Taylor (Leicestershire)