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Cook keeps ODI captaincy for Taylor-made but un-Ballanced squad

Much-maligned England Test and ODI captain Alastair Cook has managed to cling on to his skipper role for the 50 over form of cricket, until the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand at least. The four-yearly competition goes on from February 14th to March 29th.

Essex opener Cook can now concentrate on leading his side (8/1 joint-fourth favourites down under) out in Sri Lanka for a seven-match series against the Asian side from November 26th, who beat Peter Moores’ men on home soil recently. England were then also defeated by India.

National selector James Whitaker also announced a 16-man squad for that trip ahead of the World Cup, with Cook’s clubmate and all-rounder Ravi Bopara and Nottinghamshire batsman James Taylor recalled.

However, rising superstar Gary Ballance, who highly impressed this summer for the Test side as well as winning the County Championship with Yorkshire recently, has inexplicably missed out yet again. The Zimbabwean-born batsman, 24, will be very disappointed not to have been given the chance to add to his 11 ODI caps, but joins Surrey’s T20 Blast dominator Jason Roy, also of African heritage, as one of a few overlooked.

England 20 over captain Stuart Broad, meanwhile, has also been left at home as he recovers from knee surgery, but is expected to be fit in time to make the final World Cup squad.

The rest of the 16-man travel party to Sri Lanka are as follows: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Jos Buttler, Steven Finn, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Eoin Morgan, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell and Chris Woakes.

Chairman of selectors Whitaker said: “This tour to Sri Lanka allows the players and management to focus fully on improving skills in limited overs cricket, ahead of final selection for the cricket World Cup.

“While conditions in Australia and New Zealand will differ to those the squad experiences in Sri Lanka, we can still make significant strides forward as a side during the series.

“Congratulations to James Taylor who has been rewarded for his outstanding form for Nottinghamshire this season and fully deserves another opportunity in the international arena.”

Whitaker added on the surprise omission: “While Gary Ballance will I’m sure be disappointed to miss out on this tour he knows he remains a very important part of our plans.

“On behalf of the selectors I would like to wish Alastair Cook, Peter Moores and both squads all the very best for the months ahead.”