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Meet the men to lead England with bat and ball against Sri Lanka

| 14.05.2014

After what can only be described as a pre-season friendly against Scotland, despite it being given fully-fledged ODI status, Peter Moores has named his first limited-overs squad for a multi-match series.

Sri Lanka, who the ECB poached head-coach Paul Farbrace from to be Moores’ assistant, are the opponents for a five-game contest but the tourists’ won’t be facing too many rookies as the former Lancashire coach played it relatively safe with his selection.

But while there won’t be any new caps handed out to England players when the first ODI takes place, there are still a number with a point to prove after an apocalyptic winter’s cricket. Here’s two (and one Sri Lankan) worth backing for the series:

Gary Ballance – 6/1 to be England’s top scorer

Shunted down to seven in the reduced-overs Scotland match but a regular at four in all of his previous ODI appearances, Ballance has started the season well.

Having been one of the brighter notes from a dismal tour of Australia, the Zimbabwe-born batsman has collected 410 runs in six County Championship innings, which includes two hundreds and a fifty.

Chris Woakes – 10/1 to be England’s top wicket taker

That the Warwickshire bowling all-rounder has only made 13 appearances since making his ODI debut in 2011 indicates how stop-start his international career has been.

A solid start to the domestic season coupled with the birth of a new regime could well see Woakes nail-down a place in the side at last.

16 wickets in the four-day game may not put him among the competition’s leaders but an economy rate of 2.92 catches the eye and betters his first-class career number, while walloping the 5.66 against his ODI name. His new-found control could well see him reap the rewards against Sri Lanka.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.