Cricket: Alleyne takes charge for A tour

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The Independent Online
MARK ALLEYNE was yesterday chosen to lead a 15-strong England A squad mixed with youth and experience on this winter's tour to Bangladesh and New Zealand.

The 31-year-old all-rounder, who has been chosen for England's one-day tournament with South Africa and Zimbabwe in January, earned the honour after guiding Gloucestershire to both the Benson and Hedges Super Cup and the NatWest Trophy this season.

Three members of his A squad - Somerset's wicketkeeper Rob Turner, the Durham fast bowler Stephen Harmison and Yorkshire's Chris Silverwood - will be on stand-by for the senior tour to South Africa, which runs almost concurrently to the A trip.

The Warwickshire pair Nick Knight and Ashley Giles, who are in the one- day party, have also been placed on stand-by should injuries occur in South Africa but both have been overlooked for the A trip to allow the selectors to look at emerging youngsters.

The discarded Test pair Aftab Habib and Ronnie Irani, both selected during the series defeat by New Zealand but overlooked for the senior tour, have been chosen to add experience to an A team which will play two Tests and three one-day internationals in New Zealand after three weeks' preparation in Bangladesh.

England's chairman of selectors David Graveney said: "In choosing the A squad we were keen to give a number of our stand-by players for the senior tour of South Africa the opportunity of regular match practice against high quality opposition.

"We've also sought to strike a balance between recognising the achievements of players who have had outstanding domestic seasons."

Turner, who will also act as vice-captain on the A tour, is one of those players who have impressed this season - as is Worcestershire's Alamgir Sheriyar, who is the leading first-class wicket-taker in this country. The Under-19s both past and present are represented, with the current captain Michael Gough of Durham being given his first A tour alongside the Lancashire leg-spinner Chris Schofield and Northamptonshire's left- arm spinner Michael Davies.

The sacked selector Mike Gatting will manage the party, which departs on 17 October, with Yorkshire's Martyn Moxon becoming coach - his first appointment of this type at international level.

Habib is welcoming the chance to begin his international rehabilitation. "It's great they gave me an opportunity to play two Tests and it's good the selectors are keeping an eye on me this winter - it shows I'm still in their thoughts," said Habib. "I look at it in a positive manner. I've had a taste of international cricket now and it's bitterly disappointing not to get another opportunity on the main tour, but I'm still quite happy with the way things have gone."

ENGLAND A SQUAD AND ITINERARY

M Alleyne (Gloucestershire, capt), R Turner (Somerset, wkt), M Davies (Northamptonshire), P Franks (Nottinghamshire), M Gough (Durham), S Harmison (Durham), A Habib (Leicestershire), R Irani (Essex), D Sales (Northamptonshire), C Schofield (Lancashire), C Silverwood (Yorkshire), A Sheriyar (Worcestershire), V Solanki (Worcestershire), M Trescothick (Somerset), I Ward (Surrey). Tour manager: M Gatting. Tour coach: M Moxon.

Itinerary: 17 October: Depart UK; 18: Arrive Bangladesh; 19-21: Practice; 22: One-day practice match v Bangladesh U-19 (Dhaka); 23: One-day practice match v Bangladesh A (day/night, Dhaka); 24: Travel by air to Chittagong; 25-27: Three-day match v Bangladesh (Chittagong); 28: Practice in Dhaka under lights; 29: Day/night match v Bangladesh (Dhaka); 1-4 November: Four-day match v Bangladesh (Dhaka); 5: Depart Bangladesh; 6: Arrive New Zealand; 10: v NZ Cricket Academy (Lincoln); 11: v NZ Cricket Academy (Lincoln); 15-18: v North Island (Christchurch); 21-24: v South Island (Christchurch); 28-Dec 2: 1st TEST v NZ A (Christchurch); ; 5-7: v Central Districts (Palmerston North); 10-14: 2ND TEST V NZ A (Wellington); 16: 1st ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL v NZ A (Napier); 18: 2nd ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL v NZ A (Auckland); 19: 3rd ONE DAY INTERNATIONAL v NZ A (Auckland); 20: Depart for UK.

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