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Taylor ready to lead Lions

By Matt Somerford

James Taylor is relishing the chance to captain England Lions during their upcoming triangular series against New Zealand A and Sri Lanka A.

The 24-year-old has enjoyed success in charge of Notts Outlaws in limited-overs cricket this season and will lead a group of players with ambitions of proving their worth with next year’s World Cup looming on the horizon.

The week-long series begins at Taunton tomorrow, with the tourists going head-to-head, before the Lions begin their campaign against Sri Lanka A on Wednesday.

“I’m delighted to be in the England Lions again and especially as the captain,” Taylor told ecb.co.uk.

“It is a great honour. We’ve got a great side out so it is a great opportunity for us as individuals to show the selectors what we can do against decent opposition in Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

“It will be a real good test but a great opportunity to show what we can do, especially with so much international cricket coming up in the future.”

Taylor intends to lead by example in the 50-over series which will see the ECB’s Technical Director of Elite Coaching Andy Flower coach the side in their four matches.

“I as a captain always want to lead from the front and that’s always how I’ve tried to do it,” Taylor said.

Jason Roy will head to the England Lions looking to showcase his talent rather than worrying about pushing for an international place

“It gives me that added responsibility as captain and that added motivation, not that I need it, to keep improving and working hard for my team.

“It is very stressful, especially when the ball is flying everywhere in Twenty20 and in the 50-over format.

“You have to be alert every second of the day when you are in the field. It does make it more stressful but it is very enjoyable at the same time.”

Jason Roy has earned his selection on the back of a stunning NatWest T20 Blast campaign.

The Surrey opening batsman is the leading run-scorer in the Blast, but most importantly has proved his match-winning potential by consistently delivering runs at a quick-fire rate.

The 24-year-old has hit eight half-centuries to steer Surrey into finals day later this month and prompt his director of cricket Alec Stewart to claim he is an outside chance for the winter’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Roy is uncapped at international level and, while he welcomes such talk, pushing for an England place will not be on his mind this week.

“It is awesome to hear those sorts of things, especially from someone like Alec Stewart but let’s see,” he said.

“Hopefully I can get a few good performances in for the Lions and then a few more for Surrey. Then we’ll see, I’m not going to rush it.”

He added: “It’s not something I’ll really be thinking about (fighting for an England place). I’m just going to play.

“My game is my game and, if I play well I play well, and if I don’t, I don’t. It’s not the end of the world. I’m just very excited to showcase what I’ve got to offer.”

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