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Hales, Plunkett not included in 55-man training group announced by ECB
England News

Hales, Plunkett not included in 55-man training group announced by ECB

Alex Hales and Liam Plunkett continue to be omitted from the England side after the ECB named a 55-man training group in preparation for the international summer.

14 uncapped players have been drafted into the enlarged squad as England will be hosting West Indies, Pakistan, Ireland and Australia in a busy home season.

Hales' descent down the pecking order was initiated by a disciplinary charge last year shortly before the World Cup. He failed a drug test for the second time resulting in a brief ban and an axing from the national side for the 50-over event.

Hales was expected to return to the national fold as selectors pondered over an expanded group of players but his hopes were dashed when England skipper Eoin Morgan declared the opener needed more time to regain his trust.

On the other hand, Plunkett has been unable to get a game for England despite playing a pivotal role in their tournament-winning campaign at the World Cup. His bowling services were tactfully sought during the middle overs and he made an impact in the final as well, snaffling three wickets against New Zealand at Lord's.

Since then, Plunkett was overlooked for a white-ball contract prompting him to write 'disappointed is an understatement' on Twitter. Plunkett's case for a recall now might also be weakened by the fact that he is 35 years of age.

Among those who have staged a comeback is David Willey, the canny left-arm swing bowler who lost his place in the ODI side to Jofra Archer ahead of the World Cup.

Official squads for each series will be announced at a later date as matches are set to be contested behind closed doors in bio-secure bubbles such as Old Trafford and Ageas Bowl.

England's individual-based training will be held in phases with sessions across several county venues to diminish the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

"It's really pleasing to be in a position to have players returning to training and a huge amount of work has been done by many to get us this far," said England and Wales Cricket Board performance director Mo Bobat.

"The pool of players will give selectors strong options when it comes to selecting squads across formats further down the line, as we move closer to our aim of playing international cricket this summer."

ECB is hoping to conduct the lucrative international programme in its entirety otherwise the board faces the loss of £380 million if there are no games.

England training group

Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Dom Bess, Sam Billings, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Henry Brookes, Pat Brown, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Brydon Carse, Mason Crane, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Joe Denly, Ben Duckett, Laurie Evans, Ben Foakes, Richard Gleeson, Lewis Gregory, Sam Hain, Tom Helm, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Chris Jordan, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Eoin Morgan, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matt Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Adil Rashid, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, James Vince, Amar Virdi, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood