There is a place in England's National Academy squad for a clutch of the fringe candidates who narrowly missed selection for the Test tour to Pakistan.

Robert Key, Alastair Cook, Ed Joyce and Owais Shah had hopes of making the autumn trip to the subcontinent - but each can console himself with a place at the academy and the knowledge he is a stand-by option should injury hit the senior tour.

Perhaps the most disappointed will be Gareth Batty who has Worcestershire's Gareth Batty, who has toured with England for the last two winters. Batty was called up as cover for Ashley Giles during the summer but failed to make it into the team and his form with the Pears suffered as as a result.

Under the supervision of new academy director Peter Moores in Loughborough, the Pakistan near-misses will join the likes of Lancashire's under-19s all-rounder Tom Smith and Batty's New Road team-mate Steven Davies.

The Bromsgrove-born 19-year-old wicketkeeper has proved handy with the bat, scoring over 601 in ten firstclass matches last season.

Another tranche of the academy intake includes players such as Surrey's Rikki Clarke and Lancashire's Sajid Mahmood - who have already caught the England selectors' eyes in the past and are clearly thought worthy of continued involvement.

Far from being nothing more than a consolation with the possibility of a tour to West Indies in the new year, an academy berth is acknowledgement - according to chairman of selectors David Graveney - that some of the Loughborough intake can consider themselves on stand-by for Pakistan.

"Peter Moores will devise programmes for each of them," said Graveney. "Within that group the replacement players for the Test squad will be drawn."

Kent batsman Key was already regarded as unlucky to lose his place in England's line-up at the start of this summer to Ian Bell but has fought back strongly and has contributed 1,464 runs towards Kent' failed championship bid.

Middlesex pair Joyce and Shah, who have both scored heavily in the championship, must also have come into the reckoning for the Test squad.

Dublin-born Joyce qualified for England this summer and has impressed the selectors by scoring 1,559 championship runs.

The only player to score more heavily in the top division this summer is Shah, who has made 1,578 runs and seven centuries.

But perhaps the most exciting academy selection is Essex left-hander Cook. He has scored 1,097 runs at an average of over 40 and also hit a double century against Australia for his county.

ECB NATIONAL ACADEMY SQUAD: G Batty (Worcestershire); R Bopara ( Essex), S Broad (Leicestershire), R Clarke (Surrey), A Cook (Essex), J Dalrymple (Middlesex), S Davies (Worcestershire), M Footitt (Nottinghamshire), E Joyce (Middlesex), R Key (Kent), S Mahmood (Lancashire), L Plunkett (Durham), C Read (Nottinghamshire), O Shah ( Middlesex), T Smith (Lancashire), L Wright (Sussex), M Yardy (Sussex).