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Gale mindful of bigger picture

England Lions

Andrew Gale’s England Lions squad arrive in Dubai this weekend with the motivation of fighting for a place in England’s ICC World Twenty20 squad featuring prominently in their minds.

The Lions begin with four Twenty20 matches against the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan A, before an intriguing match-up in Abu Dhabi with the full England side, who will be warming up for two T20 internationals against Pakistan.

Gale has no problem seeing the bigger picture, after leading the England Performance Programme in South Africa and being appointed both Yorkshire and Lions skipper in a busy winter.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to test our skills. And we want to go out there and beat England,” Gale told ECBtv before departing for the Gulf.

“It’s also an opportunity to stake a claim for the full England side, with a World Cup (World Twenty20) coming up in April and May. So all the players will be looking to throw their name in the hat for that.

“It’s such a good set-up with the EPP throughout the winter. When you look at the names on the board who’ve converted to a full cap, it really does give you an incentive that you’re not too far away now.”

The Lions are set to meet stiff opposition in Pakistan A, captained by Mohammad Hafeez and featuring three other full internationals.

The two ‘A’ teams contest three Twenty20s in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi before reconvening in Dubai for three 50-over encounters.

Mohammad Hafeez

Mohammad Hafeez has 95 in a Test with England to his name, and opened for Pakistan in the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 final

Gale said: “I’ve had a look at their team, and they have quite a few players who have been involved with Pakistan’s Twenty20 team, and a few involved in Test cricket.

“I will imagine they’ll be a good side, and it’s on their ‘home patch’ so the conditions may suit them a little more than us.

“But make no mistake, we’re going out there to win the series.”

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