Prior to miss Trinidad Test
Middlesex wicketkeeper Ben Scott has been called-up to the England Lions squad, while Matt Prior will miss the fourth Test.
By Joe Drabble
Last Updated: 04/02/09 11:12pm
Middlesex wicketkeeper Ben Scott has been called-up to the England Lions squad to tour New Zealand after it was revealed that Matt Prior will miss the final Test match against the West Indies.
Prior has requested permission to leave the Caribbean after the third Test in Barbados to return home and attend to his wife following the birth of his first child.
Second-choice 'keeper Tim Ambrose will don the gloves in Trinidad for the final match of the series as a result, with current England Lions squad member Steven Davies providing additional cover in the West Indies.
Scott, 27, will join the England Lions squad, who depart for New Zealand on February 14, alongside Worcestershire gloveman Davies for a tour that comprises of two Test format games, a single one-day match and one Twenty20 encounter.
Explaining the decision to call-up Scott, national selector Geoff Miller told the ECB website: "We will require additional cover in the wicketkeeping position as Matt Prior has requested permission to return home to for a short period following the birth of his first child, which is due on March 2.
"At this stage, we anticipate Matt will be available for the first three Test matches in West Indies.
"Steven Davies will then fly out from New Zealand for the final Test Match in Trinidad to provide cover for Tim Ambrose.
"Ben Scott is a young wicketkeeper who impressed the selectors last season and this is an excellent opportunity for him to further his development.
"James Foster was also considered but he is currently recuperating from a shoulder operation and his priority will be to regain full fitness ahead of the domestic season."
Foster's Essex team-mate Ravi Bopara will also tour with the Lions in order to get some practice ahead of the one-day series against the West Indies.
Bopara has been named in the 16-man one-day squad for the five-match ODI series and admits getting some competitive cricket under his belt prior to the series is crucial.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Bopara said: "This (England Lions) is very important for me.
"I'm not going out there on a personal note just to work on my game, I know that we set out strong agendas as a Lions team and we want to go out there and beat New Zealand.
"On a personal note it is fantastic preparation for me to go into the one-day series against West Indies."
The 23-year-old, who can bat anywhere in the top six and provides an extra option with his medium-pace bowling, is also one of the frontrunners to be called up to the England Test squad should any injuries occur.
And Bopara insists he will be ready to step up should anybody be unfortunate enough to suffer an injury .
"I don't wish (injury) upon anyone but if I'm playing cricket and I'm playing outdoor cricket against competitive cricketers it is only a good thing for me," he said.
"If I do get called up I will be ready."