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ECB picks Kieswetter but ponders qualification change

Craig Kieswetter
Kieswetter's selection is a controversial issue for some

National selector Geoff Miller says the England and Wales Cricket Board may reconsider the criteria by which players qualify for the national side.

Craig Kieswetter, born in South Africa, is in the new England Lions squad after completing residential qualification.

Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott are in the England senior side after both learnt their cricket in South Africa.

But Miller told BBC Sport: "In two or three years time I might put a kind of a block on it as such."

Though he did not elaborate on how he might restrain South African-born players in future - Trott, Kieswetter and Pietersen all qualified on dual nationality and after serving long-term residential requirements - Miller said he recognised that the issue did upset some England cricket fans.

"We understand the concerns - I'm an Englishman myself - but Craig has met all the criteria for becoming English and has shown that he's a quality player."

BBC Sport's Oliver Brett

Kieswetter, a 22-year-old wicketkeeper who has already put in some strong performances with the bat for his county Somerset, is joined by Test regular Ian Bell in the second-string Lions squad for the limited-overs tour to play Pakistan A in the United Arab Emirates next month.

Bell, 27, was left out of England's one-day international squad for the current South Africa tour, but has batted well in the Test matches.

Miller said the Warwickshire man now had an "opportunity to force his way back into England's one-day squad."

The Lions will play three Twenty20 games and three one-day internationals. They also have a Twenty20 match against the senior England team, and another against the UAE. The tour will run from 10 to 26 February, which means there is some overlap with England's ODI and Test tour to Bangladesh, which is from 21 February to 24 March.

Ian Bell
Bell made his international debut in August 2004

Bell, who has played 79 ODIs for England with a batting average of 35.47, played a key part in England's thrilling draw with South Africa in the third Test with a patient 78, having also hit a superb 140 helped set up victory in the second Test.

The full Test and one-day squads will be announced after the completion of the Test series in South Africa on 18 January.

Kent off-spinner James Tredwell will play in only the first four matches of the Lions tour. He has been told he is definitely wanted for the England one-day squad in Bangladesh.

Yorkshire's Andrew Gale will captain the Lions squad and is one of seven players who were members of the England Performance Programme, along with Kieswetter, Yorkshire spinner David Wainwright, Hampshire batsman Michael Carberry, Middlesex seamer Steven Finn, Leicestershire batsman James Taylor and Warwickshire seamer Chris Woakes.

"I am proud to become the England Lions captain and I am excited about the opportunities that the tour will hold for us as a team and individuals," said Gale.

This represents an opportunity for them to test themselves against quality opposition and to press their case for a place in the England side

ECB performance director David Parsons

"The series against Pakistan A will give us an opportunity to test our skills against other international cricketers and will be a great way to taste the international arena."

Bell, Carberry, Tredwell, plus wicketkeeper Steven Davies, paceman Sajid Mahmood and leg-spinner Adil Rashid were all selected for either the Test or one-day squads that toured South Africa.

"We have an excellent balance of younger players who are just beginning to stake their claim for international honours, and players with plenty of experience at full international or county level in this squad," said England and Wales Cricket Board performance director David Parsons.

"I have no doubt that every member will gain a huge amount from the three-week tour.

"We ran a very successful performance programme during November and December and I am delighted that six players from this year's EPP have been selected for this tour.

"This represents an opportunity for them to test themselves against quality opposition and to press their case for a place in the England side."

England Lions squad:

Andrew Gale, Ian Bell, Michael Carberry, Michael Lumb, James Taylor, Craig Kieswetter, Steven Davies, Peter Trego, James Tredwell, Adil Rashid, Sajid Mahmood, Chris Woakes, Steven Finn, Steve Kirby, David Wainwright.

Tour itinerary:

Feb 10: UAE, T20 match, Sharjah

Feb 12: Pakistan A, T20 match, Sharjah

Feb 14: Pakistan A, T20 match, Sharjah

Feb 16: Pakistan A, T20 match, Abu Dhabi

Feb 17: England, T20 match, Abu Dhabi

Feb 22: Pakistan A, 50-over match, DSC Stadium, Dubai

Feb 24: Pakistan A, 50-over match, DSC Stadium, Dubai

Feb 26: Pakistan A, 50-over match, DSC Stadium, Dubai

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see also
England to face Pakistan in Dubai
08 Jan 10 |  Cricket
England escape in thrilling draw
07 Jan 10 |  England
Bell thrilled to silence doubters
29 Dec 09 |  England
England in UAE & Bangladesh 2010
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket

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