By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
BOTH Overton twins, Lewis Gregory and Dom Bess are all included in England’s 30-man training squad for the upcoming first Test against the West Indies.
The four Devonians will go into camp at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday June 23 ahead of the first Test against the West Indies starting on Wednesday July 8.
The group, along with a separate red-ball management team, will live, prepare and train on-site at the Ageas Bowl. On Wednesday, July 1 the players will participate in a three-day practice match. After this match, the squad for the first Test will be selected.
Gregory, Bess, Craig and Jamie Overton all went through the Devon system as youngsters, and graduated to the Minor Counties side as part of their development before joining the pro ranks with Somerset.
Plympton product Gregory captained England at under-19 level and has won five-caps international caps in T20 cricket.
Craig Overton (North Devon) and Dom Bess (Sidmouth) already have a handful of Test caps between them. Overton burst on to the scene during England’s 17-18 Ashes tour to by taking the wicket of Australian captain Steve Smith to open his Test account.
Bess won the last of his four England caps in January when he took a Test-best five wickets for 51 runs in the innings win over South Africa in Port Elizabeth.
Jamie Overton went through the England youth ranks up to under-19 level and made his England Lions debut back in 2013 as a 19-year-old fast bowler. Injuries have delayed his progress into the Test team, but he has been a regular in Lions games since 2018.
Ex-Notts and England stumper Chris Read, whose career started with Paignton and Devon, will join the management team as wicket-keeping consultant.
The batting coach for the training camp is former Exmouth and Devon all-rounder Richard Dawson, who is currently head coach at Gloucestershire.
John Sparkes, the chairman of the Devon Cricket Board, said it was the county could be proud of the work put in by coaches in the past and the hard graft of the players to get where they are.
“All four have been in and around England squad before, but I don’t think they have ever been in squad at the same time,” said Sparkes.
“With Australia coming up this winter I am sure England view the twins as a fast-bowling option down under.
“Dom showed what he could do in South Africa last winter and Lewis has been one of the leading players in red-ball cricket for a while and has to be considered.”
Commenting on the selection of the group, national selector Ed Smith, said: “Everyone involved with England is delighted that cricket is returning soon, and that the players are reporting for group training in preparation for the Test series against the West Indies.
“We’d also like to thank all the county coaches who have supported these players over the past few weeks.
“A squad for the first Test will be announced in due course.”
Squad: Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Dominic Bess (Somerset), James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran(Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Lewis Gregory (Somerset), Keaton Jennings(Lancashire), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Jamie Overton (Somerset), Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Pope(Surrey), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes(Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Amar Virdi (Surrey), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood(Durham).