Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
England have recalled wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and included uncapped Somerset spinner Dominic Bess in their squad for the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s.
Buttler has not played Test cricket since England’s tour of India in December 2016, but he has been in exceptional form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), where he scored five half-centuries in a row, which equalled the tournament record set by legendary India batsman Virender Sehwag back in 2012.
While Buttler is back in the Test team, it has been confirmed that he will be utilised as a middle order batsman since Jonny Bairstow will continue to don the keeping gloves.
“Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England’s white-ball teams,” national selector Ed Smith was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “The selection panel feels that this is the perfect moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket, where he has already enjoyed some success, including a stint playing as a specialist batsman at number seven. Jos is playing with great confidence and flair, and he will bring unique qualities to the Test team.”
Bess, meanwhile, was given the nod after fellow Somerset spinner Jack Leach was ruled out of the upcoming series due to a broken left thumb.
Leach made his Test debut during the second Test against New Zealand in March to April and fared pretty well, especially in the second innings, where he took two wickets.
As for Bess, who is just 20, he has featured in 16 first-class matches and taken 63 wickets at an average of 22.49.
“Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career,” Smith said. “He has impressed everyone with his performances for Somerset and when he has been given opportunities with England representative teams. With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler. Dom’s strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case for selection.”
The most notable exclusion from the squad was batsman James Vince, who struggled during the Ashes against Australia. However, he did fare a lot better against New Zealand.
Vince averaged 26.88 against the Baggy Greens and, but averaged 47 in the one Test he played against the Black Caps, in which he scored an encouraging 76.
All-rounder Chris Woakes and pace bowler Mark Wood kept their spots in the side, as did opening batsman Mark Stoneman, who failed to make his presence felt in Australia, but recovered to score two half-centuries and average 40.25 in the two-Test series against New Zealand.
Meanwhile, batsman Dawid Malan, who was one of the few England batsmen to enjoy some success during the Ashes, and pace bowler Tom Curran, who has shown encouraging signs in limited overs cricket, have been awarded incremental contracts.
The first Test between England and Pakistan will get underway on May 24, while the second Test will be held at Headingley on June 1.
England’s squad for first Test against Pakistan: Joe Root (capt), Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood