England leave out Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali from 22-man group named ahead of next week’s first Test against West Indies – and final 11 will be chosen on Wednesday
- Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali aren’t among England’s 22 players for first Test
- The large group has been named ahead of next week’s Test against West Indies
- The 22 are divided into two groups – a first-choice squad of 13 and nine reserves
- From the 13 players, the final 11 will chosen on Wednesday at the Ageas Bowl
England have found no room for Jonny Bairstow or Moeen Ali among the 22 players named for next week’s first Test against West Indies.
Instead, the spinner’s role has been entrusted to Somerset’s 22-year-old Dom Bess, who impressed during England’s 3-1 win in South Africa earlier this year. And, in a further blow to Bairstow’s hopes of reclaiming his Test place, Ben Foakes has been named as second-choice wicketkeeper behind vice-captain Jos Buttler.
The 22 are divided into two groups: a first-choice squad of 13, from which the final 11 will be chosen on Wednesday morning at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl. And a reserve group of nine, named in case anyone tests positive for Covid-19.
England have found no room for Jonny Bairstow (pictured) or Moeen Ali in their 22-man group
Dom Bess has been entrusted with the spinner’s role ahead of the first Test against West Indies
Ben Stokes (Durham) Captain
James Anderson (Lancashire)
Jofra Archer (Sussex)
Dominic Bess (Somerset)
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)
Rory Burns (Surrey)
Jos Buttler (Lancashire)
Zak Crawley (Kent)
Joe Denly (Kent)
Ollie Pope (Surrey)
Dom Sibley (Warwickshire)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Mark Wood (Durham)
The group of nine feels like a glimpse of the future as England look to assemble a squad capable of winning back the Ashes in 2021-22, and forging a new era under coach Chris Silverwood.
Four of the group are yet to win a Test cap: Gloucestershire’s James Bracey, who made a compact 85 during England’s practice match in Southampton this week; the highly rated Dan Lawrence of Essex, who scored 58; Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson, who produced first-innings figures of 9-4-7-2; and Saqib Mahmood, who had his first taste of international cricket during England’s T20 series in New Zealand late last year.
Of the first-choice 13, the biggest challenge facing stand-in captain Ben Stokes will be how to squeeze six bowlers into four. And if the management decide Bess has to play to provide Stokes with a spin option, then only three from James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes will make the cut.
All had their moments in Southampton, though it seems inconceivable that England will take the field without their long-established opening pair of Anderson and Broad, who have 1,069 Test wickets between them. Anderson is 16 short of 600, and Broad 15 short of 500.
The selectors, however, may be relaxed about the possibility of omitting Wood, whose fitness record suggests he is unlikely to play in all six Tests this summer anyway.
The biggest challenge facing captain Ben Stokes will be how to squeeze six bowlers into four
The top seven seems to select itself, even if the return for the second Test of captain Joe Rot after paternity leave could turn Wednesday’s game into a shootout between Joe Denly and Zak Crawley.
Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran, who tested negative on Friday for Covid-19 after suffering a bout of vomiting and diarrhea, is among the reserve group of nine, along with Somerset slow left-armer Jack Leach.
His inclusion effectively relegates Ali to third-choice spinner.
ENGLAND’S TEST RESERVES
James Bracey (Gloucestershire)
Sam Curran (Surrey)
Ben Foakes (Surrey)
Dan Lawrence (Essex)
Jack Leach (Somerset)
Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire)
Craig Overton (Somerset)
Ollie Robinson (Sussex)
Olly Stone (Warwickshire)
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