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Taylor relishing Lions captaincy bow

England Lions

James Taylor

James Taylor will lead the England Lions for the first time this week at Scarborough. "It's another opportunity for me to show people what I can do, not just as a batter, but also as a captain," he said

Leicestershire batsman James Taylor is eagerly anticipating a new challenge as he prepares to lead England Lions for the first time.

The 21-year-old, a prolific run-scorer in domestic cricket for the last three seasons, will captain the side against Sri Lanka A at Scarborough, having established himself as one of the brightest prospects in English cricket.

Taylor has already skippered Leicestershire on a number of occasions and believes he will benefit from the experience he gains this week.

He told ecb.co.uk: “I’m really looking forward to it. To represent your country at any level is a great honour, but to captain them is even better.

“It’s another opportunity for me to show people what I can do, but in a different way this time, not just as a batter, but also as a captain.

“I’ve done a few games for Leicestershire. It’s definitely something I look forward to doing in the future and getting better at.”

There are a number of new faces in the Lions squad, with Alex Hales, Joe Root, Scott Borthwick, Stuart Meaker and Jack Brooks all gaining maiden call-ups.

Taylor added: “It’s an excellent squad, there’s some young players mixed with some experienced players and a few in the squad have played international cricket. It’s a great honour to be able to captain these players. Hopefully we can get a win.”

Sri Lanka A have suffered defeats in each of their opening two tour matches, against Leicestershire and Durham.

James Taylor

Taylor insists he is not burdened by people's high expectations of him. The 21-year-old explained: "I enjoy people expecting me to do things"

Taylor compiled a sparkling unbeaten 168 in the first innings of the game at Grace Road, but is expecting a stiffer test when play gets under way tomorrow morning.

“They (Sri Lanka) have played a couple of games now and I’m sure they are a lot more used to English conditions,” he explained.

“We’re expecting a good test and I’m sure they will be better than they were when I played them at Leicestershire.

“It obviously helps that I’ve seen their bowlers so I’m going into the game full of confidence, but it’s a different occasion now, with different conditions and a different surface, so it’s going to be a new challenge.”

Although he has yet to make his debut for England, many observers have tipped Taylor to enjoy a long and distinguished career at international level.

The diminutive batsman insists he is comfortable with the level of expectation being placed on his shoulders and refuses to get carried away by the hype surrounding his future.

“I kind of like the added pressure and having responsibility,” he said. “At Leicestershire, I’ve had the added pressure of having to score runs and I enjoy that.

“I enjoy people expecting me to do things and I don’t see that as pressure, it’s exciting for me.

“I haven’t really thought too far ahead to be honest. I’m just trying to concentrate on this game and leading the Lions, hopefully to a victory against Sri Lanka.

“It’s easy to look too far ahead into the future, for me it’s a case of scoring runs in whatever game I’m playing in - that’s going to get me into the England side.”

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