Liam Dawson in contention for World Cup spot after impressive county form

Ali Martin at Headingley


Liam Dawson is expected to enter the debate over England’s World Cup squad when the selectors and the captain, Eoin Morgan, convene on Monday.

Hampshire’s left-arm spin-bowling all-rounder has not featured for England since pulling up with a side strain during October’s limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka. But he has been in fine white-ball form this summer, claiming 18 wickets and averaging 45 with the bat during his county’s march to the Royal London Cup final.

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With Joe Denly’s role as a utility reserve player still dividing opinion behind the scenes, it is not out of the question that England could spring a surprise when Ed Smith, the national selector, presents his final World Cup 15 at Lord’s on Tuesday morning.

Denly, included in last month’s preliminary squad, did not feature in Sunday’s fifth ODI against Pakistan. Smith is known to be keen on his retention but, with little to show from three outings in the series – one innings of 17 from the unfamiliar No 7 position and six wicketless overs for his part-time leg-breaks – Morgan and the head coach, Trevor Bayliss, may yet want to look elsewhere.

Speaking after Sunday’s 54-run win, Morgan told BBC Test Match Special: “I could pick 17 names at the moment. It is going to be an extremely tough selection. Every member of the squad has made the decision even tougher. There will be a couple of disappointed men in the next few days but those guys, given the nature of high-level sport with injuries and illness, could be called upon during the World Cup.”

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Jofra Archer, another who sat outside the original squad, is certain to usurp one of his fellow seamers after being rested at Headingley. It means as well as the spare spinner, the panel will be deciding between Tom Curran’s variations and the left-arm angle of David Willey, with both players offering lower order runs.

Chris Woakes, already assured of a berth and fresh from figures of five for 54 in Leeds, added: “Everyone will be looking at the phones. Even if you have a good chance of being in it, until you hear it it’s not set in stone. As a player you are on edge and in particular with this group given everyone has performed at some point in the series and over the last four years. It’s a tricky decision and I’m glad I’m not making it.”