Graham Onions has been given hope he is part of England’s future plans after being named in the provisional squad for the ICC World Twenty20.
The 2013 County Championship’s leading wicket-taker was overlooked for England’s Ashes squad in favour of taller fast bowlers Chris Tremlett, Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn.
The first two played one Test each, while Finn did not appear and has been sent home from the one-day series with coach Ashley Giles calling him “not selectable”.
This is the third time the Gateshead-born fast bowler has been named in a provisional squad for the biennial tournament, which this year takes place in Bangladesh in March and April, despite never having played international Twenty20 cricket and making only four one-day international appearances.
It is highly unlikely Onions will play in Bangladesh either, so his inclusion is of more significance as a signal he remains in the thoughts of new chairman of selectors James Whittaker.
Onions’ Durham team-mates Ben Stokes and Scott Borthwick are also named, having made their Test debuts this winter. Both have a good chance of inclusion when the 30-man party is halved after the T20 series in Australia.
Playing in the tournament would not rule the trio out of any competitive matches with the county, though they would miss the game against MCC in Abu Dhabi and, if England reached the final, the friendly against Durham University.
Kevin Pietersen has also been included, along with uncapped players Moeen Ali, Harry Gurney, Steven Parry and James Vince.
Tremlett and James Anderson have not been selected.
As always seems to be the case, Pietersen has been at the centre of controversy recently, amid claims team director Andy Flower wants him removed from the international set-up.
Giles, the man in direct control of England’s limited-overs sides, described the 33-year-old batsman as a “million-dollar asset”. When asked if he and Flower had discussed dropping the right-hander, he simply replied: “No.”
Pietersen was man of the series when England won the tournament under Paul Collingwood in 2010.
Test and 50-over captain Alastair Cook has said major decision-making would be on hold until after England return home from Australia early next month.
Until recently Finn was the leader of England’s white-ball attack but, with his confidence apparently disintegrated, Giles has taken action.
The former spinner said: “We have made a decision he is going to go home, “We feel it is the best thing for him.
“He has not been bowling that well and not well enough to be selected.
“We felt the best place for him to be is out of a performance environment.
“Steven is not selectable at the moment.
“His timing is out. That then can affect your confidence and certainly it (the ball) is not coming out of his hand as quickly as he would like either.”
I suppose he has been in this state for at least two months.At the moment Steven needs a bit of space. He probably needs two away from cricket full stop.”
SQUAD: Broad (capt), Moeen Ali, Bairstow, Ballance, Bopara, Borthwick (Durham), Bresnan, Briggs, Buttler (wkt), Carberry, Dernbach, Finn, Gurney, Hales, Jordan, Kieswetter (wkt), Lumb, Morgan, Onions (Durham), Parry, Patel, Pietersen, Rankin, Root, Stokes (Durham), Taylor, Tredwell, Vince, Woakes, Wright.