sport

England call surprises Wright

Chris Wright admits his call-up to England's provisional 30-man squad for the Champions Trophy came as a pleasant surprise.

Seamer Wright was one of the key figures in Warwickshire's LV= County Championship triumph last summer; his haul of 62 top-flight wickets was bettered only by Durham's Graham Onions, who picked up 64 scalps.

Wright subsequently spent time in India and Australia over the winter with the England Performance Programme and Lions respectively.

Yet, speaking on Thursday at Warwickshire's pre-season media day, he explained his sense of confusion after missing a recent call from national selector Geoff Miller.

"It was unexpected," said the 27-year-old, who has flourished since moving to Edgbaston from Essex in October 2011 following a successful loan spell.

"I missed the call, called back and it was Geoff Miller. I didn't really know what it was about because they named a 30-man squad (the England Performance Squad) a couple of days previous, but it's great to be thought of. I'm delighted."

Wright retains a realistic outlook on his chances of gaining a place in England's final 15-man party for the 50-over tournament, which they will host in June.

"Obviously I'm aware it's going to be trimmed down (by May 5), but I'll just try and make sure I'm sniffing around there somewhere with the hope of making it," he added.

"I'm not thinking too much about the Champions Trophy selection, because it's a different format and we've got plenty of championship cricket coming up. The key thing is just to get off to a good start in that really."

Wright is one of four uncapped players in England's initial Champions Trophy squad, together with Warwickshire team-mate Varun Chopra, a heavy-scoring opener on the domestic circuit in recent seasons, Yorkshire batsman Gary Ballance and Middlesex seamer James Harris.

At the other end of the international experience scale is Ian Bell, who is currently taking a break following England's tour of New Zealand but - like Jonathan Trott - will represent Warwickshire in two championship fixtures next month prior to the home Test series against the Black Caps.

"I'm available for two games, away at Sussex and at home against Middlesex, so it's nice to get that opportunity," said Bell.

"I'll try and get as many runs as I can and make the most of that time ahead of the first Test match.

"I've always quite enjoyed trying to get as much county cricket as possible going into the first England game of the summer. Nets can only get you so far; you need time in the middle.

"With the winter we've had, it's nice to have that bit of time away from the game to refresh and then you can hit it hard again when you come back.

"I'll spend a bit of time with the family and then gradually get back into it. Obviously we've got a really exciting summer ahead."