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Whitaker to leave role as England cricket selector

Credit: PA

England selector James Whitaker is to leave his post as part of a major overhaul within the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Whitaker, an England selector for a decade, will step down at the end of the month as the ECB plans a new approach to picking players for all forms of international cricket.

Fellow England selectors Angus Fraser and Mick Newell will retain their positions for now and can apply for new roles, the ECB has confirmed.

"The England and Wales Cricket Board is to introduce a new approach to scouting, assessing and selecting players for the senior Test, T20 and One-Day sides, ensuring greater connection right through the international pathway," the ECB said in a statement.

"In line with this new integrated approach, England national selector James Whitaker will step down from his role at the end of March.

"This season will see the introduction of a scouting system with designated discipline-specific scouts, including the current ECB national lead coaches, providing information to a three-strong selection panel, made up of a new national selector, a full-time independent England selector and the England head coach."

The new national selector's role will be advertised this week, with the ECB looking to have a new man in place in time for the next selections in mid-May before the Test series against Pakistan.

"Current England selectors Angus Fraser and Mick Newell will remain in place until new positions have been filled and are free to apply for the new roles," the ECB added.

Director of England Cricket Andrew Strauss said the overhaul was not related to recent results, but a formalised scouting network would help the ECB gather more knowledge about a particular player's strengths.


Toby Roland-Jones and Matt Critchley join Lions' limited overs squad

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Fit-again Test seamer Toby Roland-Jones is one of two additions to the England Lions' limited-overs squad to face West Indies A next month.

Roland-Jones, already with the Lions for the first-class leg of their Caribbean tour after missing this winter's Ashes because of a stress fracture in his lower back, is joined by all-rounder Matt Critchley for the limited-overs series in Antigua from March 6-11.

Leg-spinner Critchley, 21, has become the first Derbyshire player to be selected for the Lions - in place of England all-rounder Liam Dawson, who is instead joining the Pakistan Super League.

Roland-Jones replaces fellow Middlesex seamer Tom Helm, who has suffered a recurrence of his hamstring problems.

Young left-armer Tom Barber, another Middlesex team-mate of Roland-Jones, and Gloucestershire seamer Liam Norwell have been added to the South squad for this year's North-South matches - which will be played at Barbados' Kensington Oval in mid-March.

Their opportunity comes because of injuries for Helm and Sussex left-armer George Garton - who has a minor side problem.

England Lions facing defeat after day three collapse

Credit: PA

England Lions were left on the brink of defeat after a dramatic collapse on day three of their match against West Indies A in Jamaica.

The tourists lost their last six wickets for just 14 runs to slump to 132 all out in the second innings, with the hosts needing just 75 runs for victory with nine wickets remaining.

The home side began the day 20 runs in arrears with two wickets remaining, but moved ahead as Test wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich and Jomel Warrican extended their overnight partnership to 161.

Dowrich eventually fell for 119 off 222 balls, with Warrican unbeaten on 71 as West Indies established a first-innings lead of 27.

Lions captain Keaton Jennings fell cheaply but Haseeb Hameed and Nick Gubbins put on 52 for the second wicket before the fall of Gubbins for 20.

Hameed made 39 and Joe Clarke added 31 but when the latter fell, it triggered the capitulation that left England staring at a heavy defeat.

Warrican was the star for the home side - who reached 31 for one at the close - following up his half-century by taking seven for 33.


England drop to fifth in ICC rankings after Ashes misery

Australia and England have swapped places in the ICC test rankings. Credit: PA

England have dropped to fifth in the International Cricket Council Test rankings after their Ashes misery was completed with an innings-and-123-run defeat in Sydney.

Joe Root's tourists had entered the series in third place in the standings, with Australia fifth, but the teams have swapped positions following a 4-0 victory for the hosts Down Under.

The heavy nature of England's defeat means they drop below fourth-placed New Zealand in the latest update.

India currently sit at the top of the table, while their current opponents in a three-Test series, South Africa, are second.

Vaughan hopes Stokes is hurting over Ashes absence

Stokes has been suspended by England whilst his criminal investigation is ongoing. Credit: PA

Michael Vaughan hopes Ben Stokes is "hurting more than the team in the dressing room" after England surrendered the Ashes following their latest defeat in Perth.

Stokes' absence has lingered over England's tour, which hit another low when they crashed to an innings-and-41-run loss to Australia, who took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

The talismanic all-rounder has been suspended by England until the resolution of a criminal investigation into his arrest on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following a late-night fracas outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

He has been cleared to compete by the England and Wales Cricket Board in New Zealand's domestic limited-overs competitions, but his international team-mates have toiled badly without him in Australia.

And Ashes 2005-winning captain Vaughan told BT Sport 1: "I would hope that Ben Stokes was watching and I would hope that he's hurting more than the team in the dressing room.

"As soon as Ben Stokes did what he did, it was very clear to me he was going to struggle to be in Australia. I said it straight away that I didn't think England would have any chance without Ben Stokes."

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott questioned whether his presence would have had any impact on the result, and Vaughan replied: "No it wouldn't but I hope he's hurting more than the players that have been here."

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