TWO former Worcestershire County cricketers have been dropped from the England Lions in the wake of WhatsApp messages which emerged during the rape trial of their former teammate.

Joe Clarke and Tom Kohler-Cadmore, both considered promising young batsmen, have been stood down from the England Lions tour to India which departs on Saturday in light of details that emerged during the trial of their former Worcestershire teammate Alex Hepburn.

The jury failed to reach verdicts in the trial of Alex Hepburn, aged 23, of Portland Street, Worcester on Friday.

Australian-born Hepburn, who denied two counts of rape, faces a possible retrial in April after the jury failed to reach a verdict during nine hours and 17 minutes of deliberations.

The all-rounder, who left the court in tears, is alleged to have had sex with a woman in April 2017 while she was initially asleep.

The alleged victim, who gave evidence behind a screen, said she believed he was Clarke, Hepburn’s flatmate, whom she had returned with following a night out at Bushwackers.

Neither Mr Clarke, who moved to Nottinghamshire at the end of last season, or Mr Kohler-Cadmore, who joined Yorkshire in 2017, was accused of any crime on the night and no charges have been brought against either player.

Mr Clarke was arrested during the investigation, an action criticised by the trial judge Jim Tindal.

Mr Clarke, who also had sex with the woman, was said to have been asleep in a bathroom when Hepburn committed the alleged rapes.

However, both Mr Clarke and Mr Kohler-Cadmore were involved in a WhatsApp chat about sexual conquests which is is understood to have prompted the England and Wales Cricket Board to stand both men down from the upcoming Lions tour pending an investigation by the governing body.

Mr Kohler-Cadmore was not specifically named as a contributor to the WhatsApp group other than the name “Tom” and his nickname 'Pepsi' being referenced.

England Lions are due to face India A in a five-match 50-over series in Thiruvananthapuram from January 23, before two unofficial ‘Tests’ against the same opposition in early February.