Ashes lifeline for England Lions' Sibley

Dom Sibley has been selected in the England Lions squad to tour Australia.
Dom Sibley has been selected in the England Lions squad to tour Australia.

Liam Livingstone has been left out of the England Lions squad that will shadow the senior side in Australia this winter but opener Dom Sibley has been handed a possible Ashes lifeline.

While Matt Parkinson and Saqib Mahmood were included in a 14-strong party that will head to Australia on the same day as England's Test squad on November 4, their Lancashire teammate Livingstone, who had been tipped by many as an Ashes bolter, has been overlooked.

Allrounder Livingstone had a prolific white-ball summer with the bat and although he retains Test ambitions, and averages 38.36 at first-class level, his chances to make a case have been restricted by his limited-overs commitments.

He is part of England's Twenty20 World Cup squad and could head to Australia at the conclusion of the tournament for the Big Bash League, so he could conceivably be drafted in by England if necessary over the winter.

But despite former England captains Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan expressing the view that they would have selected Livingstone in the 17-man Ashes squad named last week, Livingstone is down the red-ball pecking order.

"Liam's clearly a player of high potential," said the England and Wales Cricket Board's performance director Mo Bobat. "From a red-ball perspective, quite simply, it felt like there were other players ahead of him right now.

"He's done incredibly in white-ball cricket but some of his red-ball numbers in the last couple of years might not have been what he's wanted and he's probably missed a bit of cricket from being around England environments.

"It's worth saying from Liam's perspective that he's a player of potential but for any player that's in and around (Australia) and might be in the country, they become playing resources we might have to call on."

Hussain and Vaughan also suggested they would have selected legspinner Parkinson and fast bowler Mahmood in the main contingent headed by Joe Root.

Parkinson has taken 102 first-class wickets at 23.35 while Mahmood's extra pace could provide additional bowling firepower in the absence of the injured Jofra Archer and Olly Stone.

They are part of the standby squad that could push their claims for promotion in two intra-squad games, while there will also be one fixture against Australia A on dates to be decided, before a scheduled return home on December 16.

Opening batter Sibley is also in the Lions mix, having missed out on a central contract last week and been left out of the Ashes squad after being axed over the summer following a prolonged lean run of form.

"I would say there is a likelihood a player can put forward a compelling case and end up being around for the Ashes," added Bobat. "Ultimately there's a real opportunity for some of those players to showcase what they can do in front of the England captain."

Sibley is among four players who have been capped in Tests to get a Lions call-up - the others being leg-break bowler Mason Crane and wicketkeeper-batters Ben Foakes and James Bracey - but James Vince is another omission.

England Lions squad to tour Australia: T Abell (Somerset), J Bohannon (Lancashire), J Bracey (Gloucestershire), B Carse (Durham), M Crane (Hampshire), M Fisher (Yorkshire), B Foakes (Surrey), A Lees (Durham), S Mahmood (Lancashire), L Norwell (Warwickshire), M Parkinson (Lancashire), D Sibley (Warwickshire), J Smith (Surrey), R Yates (Warwickshire).

Australian Associated Press