Somerset batsman Nick Compton has been rewarded for his prolific form in a so-far bowler-friendly season with a place in a 12-man England Lions squad to play West Indies at Northampton from 10 May.
The 28-year-old right-hander has accumulated 685 first-class runs so far, including two double centuries, giving him a chance to become the first since Graeme Hick in 1988 to make 1,000 before June.
Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor, who captained the Lions on tour in the winter, retains that position, even though he was omitted from the England Performance Squad for 2012.
Samit Patel's inclusion – and Ravi Bopara's absence – suggests that Taylor's Nottinghamshire team-mate, who made his Test debut in Sri Lanka, is not in the selectors' minds for the opening Test against the West Indies at Lord's on 17 May.
Patel has managed only 59 runs in five innings since returning to the Nottinghamshire side. Bopara began his domestic season with an unbeaten century for Essex last week, although he had a less successful time yesterday, bowled for just six as one of four victims for Northamptonshire's Jack Brooks – also named in the Lions 12 – as Essex reached 54 for six.
Michael Carberry, the Hampshire left-hander, is the other player with Test experience in the squad, which also includes the 21-year-old Kent all-rounder Matt Coles, who spent the winter on the Potential England Performance Programme in Loughborough and Chennai before joining the Lions for the final stages of their tour of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Surrey's Jade Dernbach and Yorkshire wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow, both of whom are England one-day players, also feature.
National selector Geoff Miller said: "Many of the players included have worked hard on our overseas tours and training camps over the winter or have shown good early-season form."
Compton was denied any opportunity to add to his aggregate total after rain allowed only 85 minutes of play in Somerset's match against the defending county champions Lancashire. The 21 overs were used to good effect by his side, nonetheless. Five Lancashire wickets fell for 32 runs, South African Test bowler Vernon Philander taking three of the wickets in the space of 20 deliveries at a cost of only four runs, including Steven Croft, who did not add to his overnight 113.
Lancashire were still able to reflect on a much-improved performance after losing their opening two matches, with maximum batting points still available if they can score five more runs inside three overs when play resumes today.
Early First Division leaders Warwickshire will endeavour to bowl Sussex out twice after resisting the temptation to declare at Hove, advancing from 281 for five overnight to 545 before off-spinner Chris Nash claimed their last wicket.
England's Jonathan Trott extended his overnight 132 to 172 before he was caught at slip trying to drive Nash. The England No 3, whose first 50 had come at almost a run a ball, eventually faced 314 deliveries and batted for six hours and 47 minutes, plundering 27 fours.
Most of the Sussex bowlers suffered, the last three wickets putting on 151 runs, with half-centuries each for former England wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose and all-rounder Rikki Clarke. Sussex lost their first two wickets for 46 in reply.
Nottinghamshire, who were displaced as leaders in the last round, put themselves in a strong position after a delayed start at New Road, where Worcestershire are in danger of being asked to follow on after closing on 72 for six. Replying to Nottinghamshire's 243, they were required to face only 27.3 overs before bad light forced the players off but it was enough time for Andre Adams in particular to wreak havoc. The 36-year-old New Zealander, who has been the leading wicket-taker for Notts during the last two seasons, has four wickets for 23.
England Lions squad: Taylor (Notts, captain), Bairstow (Yorkshire),Brooks (Northamptonshire), Carberry (Hampshire), Coles (Kent), Compton (Somerset), Dernbach (Surrey), Simon Kerrigan (Lancashire), Stuart Meaker (Surrey), Patel (Nottinghamshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Ben Stokes (Durham).