Ollie Pope left out of England’s four-day warm-up fixture in Antigua
Lawrence, 24, made his Test debut in Sri Lanka last year and averages 27.23 after eight matches. He was part of the Ashes squad in Australia but did not make an appearance, and has not played any competitive cricket since the end of the County Championship season.
England have picked a 12-man side featuring four seamers (Chris Woakes, Craig Overton, Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson) and one spinner (Jack Leach) with one of those five likely to be squeezed out for the first Test on March 8. The uncapped Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Fisher and Matt Parkinson join Pope on the bench.
“We’ve done a lot of talking,” Paul Collingwood, England’s interim head coach, told the ECB’s in-house channels. “We’ve had some real open and honest meetings, and a lot of players and a lot of staff have spoken up in those meetings so they’re accountable now. They’ve got to go and live it. They’ve got to put what they’ve said in those meetings out onto the field.
“I feel as though the guys have really bought into it. There’s a sense of excitement and genuine enthusiasm about moving the team forward and to build self-sufficiency in the team. I know I’ve only got the job as an interim coach but I guess the challenge is to pass the team onto whoever comes in after the four weeks and the team to be in a better, stronger place than it has been. When you get a role like this, you want to make a difference.”
The fixture also marks England’s return to the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua for the first time since the Stanford 20/20 for $20 million in 2008. The ground is the site of CWI’s new headquarters following its redevelopment and hosted men’s international cricket for the first time last year.
“The pitch and the outfield are looking in immaculate condition and we are really pleased with what we are seeing,” Rayon Griffith, who will coach the President’s XI, said. “We’ve had some good training sessions and we expect to give a really good account during the four-day match.”
England: 1 Alex Lees, 2 Zak Crawley, 3 Joe Root (captain), 4 Dan Lawrence, 5 Ben Stokes, 6 Jonny Bairstow, 7 Ben Foakes (wk), 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Craig Overton, 10 Mark Wood, 11 Ollie Robinson, 12 Jack Leach
CWI President’s XI: (possible) 1 Jeremy Solozano, 2 Shayne Moseley, 3 Keacy Carty, 4 Devon Thomas, 5 Alick Athanaze, 6 Raymon Reifer, 7 Shane Dowrich (captain/wk), 8 Shamar Springer, 9 Colin Archibald, 10 Preston McSween, 11 Bryan Charles, 12 Shermon Lewis