Northants duo get call for North-South Series

Richard Gleeson and Ben Duckett will take part in the North-South Series (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
Richard Gleeson and Ben Duckett will take part in the North-South Series (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Northants stars Ben Duckett and Richard Gleeson have been selected to take part in the 2018 North-South Series.

The talented duo earned their place in the North squad after impressing for the County during the Royal London One-Day Cup last season.

England batsman Duckett, who also took part in the North-South Series last year, registered 297 runs from his 12 50-over matches in 2017, making three half-centuries.

Pace ace Gleeson took 10 wickets in 12 games, averaging 33.10.

They will now be part of the North squad that will be captained by Nottinghamshire's Steven Mullaney.

The North will be coached by Paul Collingwood as they aim for revenge for the 3-0 whitewash inflicted by the South in the first series in the UAE last year.

Kent's Sam Northeast will skipper the South squad, which will be coached by Mark Ramprakash.

James Whitaker, the national selector who finalised the squads, said: "We believe these are two exciting squads which again underline the value of this North-South Series as an opportunity for us to see some strong contenders for white-ball cricket playing at a higher level of competition and intensity.

"The unavailability of several of the players who had earned automatic invitations means the squads are tilted more towards youth and potential this year.

"The North squad has six players aged 21 or under, and the South squad includes four 20-year-olds plus Sam Curran, who is still only 19.

"Some of the players we have selected have very limited List A experience with their counties. But in those cases their potential has already been identified with selection on the ECB's International Pathway.

"For example Delray Rawlins is currently in Sydney on an Overseas Placement, and we have included three fast bowlers currently training with the Pace Programme - Zak Chappell in the North squad, and Paul Walter and Tom Helm with the South.

"But it is also a good opportunity for more experienced players who have impressed in the county game, such as Steven Mullaney, Brett D'Oliveira, John Simpson and Sam Northeast, to show the selectors and England coaches what they can do at a higher level."

The squads include 15 players who have already been selected for the England Lions tour of West Indies this spring, and the series will follow on from the one-day section of that tour.

The teams will each play a warm-up game on March 15 before the three-match series at the Kensington Oval on March 18, 21 and 23.

The Kensington Oval will also stage the MCC's Champion County match against Essex from March 27-30 in a spring festival of English cricket in Barbados.

"It's a new series this year with completely different squads, and we know Colly and the North will be keen to make amends for what happened in the 2017 series in the UAE," said Ramprakash, who will be assisted by the Lions head coach Andy Flower.

"There's a big incentive for all the players to impress as we get closer to the 2019 World Cup, and I'm looking forward to getting involved in the series for the first time."

Collingwood will be assisted by Paul Franks, the former Nottinghamshire and England all-rounder who was appointed in recognition of his contribution to the Outlaws' title-winning Royal London One-Day Cup campaign in 2017.

And Collingwood said: "We know we'll be the underdogs after what happened last year, but there's plenty of talent in our squad and we're all looking forward to getting stuck in - and putting on a good show for the North."

Squads

North: S Mullaney (Notts, captain), S Hain (Warwickshire*), B Duckett (Northants), J Clarke (Worcestershire), K Jennings (Lancashire), B D'Oliveira (Worcestershire), A Davies (Lancashire, wk), P Coughlin (Notts), M Fisher (Yorkshire), S Mahmood (Lancashire), R Gleeson (Northants), Z Chappell (Leicestershire), M Parkinson (Lancashire).

South: S Northeast (Kent, captain), D Bell-Drummond (Kent*), N Gubbins (Middlesex), D Lawrence (Essex), D Rawlins (Sussex), L Dawson (Hampshire), J Simpson (Middlesex, wk), S Curran (Surrey), P Walter (Essex), D Bess (Somerset), T Helm (Middlesex), J Porter (Essex), G Garton (Sussex).