England Announce Squad For Two Tests Against West Indies

The England Cricket Board (ECB) selection panel has declared a 14-member squad for the first two of the three-match Test series against the touring West Indies side, starting from the second week of July 10, at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.

That will also be the farewell game for James Anderson, putting an end to his 21-year-old long career across formats for England. It was a few months ago that the veteran had already bid adieu to the game, keeping in mind the future, after discussions with Brendon McCullum and captain Ben Stokes.

Under Ben Stokes, England struggled in their last Test series against India, where they had some difficult times losing the series with a 4-1 margin.

England leave out Mark Wood, and Jonny Bairstow for the West Indies Tests

The two dashing opening batters of the England side, Zak Crawley and Ben Duckett have retained their place for the start of the Test summer, after having a sweet time against the red-ball in India, where both scored consistent runs throughout the five-match series.

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Ollie Pope and Joe Root too have been excellent for a long time, as the latter would be eyeing for 12000 Test run mark in this series, or if not then the summer when he will have another Test series against the touring Sri Lanka side.

After a huge struggle in recent times in the recently concluded T20 World Cup 2024, and even in England’s last Test series, the selection committee has left out their wicket-keeper batter Jonny Bairstow, whose numbers have gone down in the last few years. The Yorkshire batter reached his 100th Test landmark at the picturesque Dharamshala ground, to have 6042 Test runs at an average of around 36.4, with 12 centuries and 26 fifties.

Along with him, Ben Foakes has been ignored for the Test series in the squad, along with the gun pace of Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, and the left-arm spin of Jack Leach.

However, after the first Test, England will see a huge change in their bowling line-up. It will also be their first home Test with no Stuart Broad in the side, who announced his end in international cricket at the end of the last Ashes Tests at home, at the Kennington Oval in London.

With the farewell Test of Anderson, England will shoulder the likes of Dillon Pennington, who won his first Test call-up, while the pace of Gus Atkinson could be a huge reward for the team. The experience of Chris Woakes will be quite handy for the team, along with Matthew Potts who made his last Test appearance almost a year ago.

Pennington, the 25-year-old medium pacer has been part of 52 first-class games, picking up 169 wickets at an average of under 28, along with nine five-wicket hauls and a couple of ten-wicket hauls. Atkinson has featured in only 19 FC games, collecting 59 scalps at an average of under 28.

The spin option of Shoaib Bashir, the tall off-spinner was preferred in the squad. The Surry wicket-keeper batter Jamie Smith, is set to don the gloves for the England team in the opening Test of the summer, as his 3264 FC runs in 58 games, with an average of close to 41 will also be valuable for them.

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‘The first Test of the summer is always a special moment, but it will be extra poignant with it being Jimmy’s (James Anderson) last Test before he retires. He has given everything to the sport since his Test debut in 2003.’ The ECB managing director for Men’s cricket, Rob Key expressed on the selection of the squad. ‘We all would like to wish him well as he walks out at Lord’s for the last time for England. We are looking forward to getting the season underway against a strong West Indies side in what will be an excellent Test series.’

The first Test of the series will be played at Lords from July 10-14, while the second will take place at Trent Bridge from July 18-22. The final Test of the series will get underway at Edgbaston from July 26-30.

England Squad for the first two Tests against West Indies: Ben Stokes (captain), James Anderson, Gus Atkinson, Shoaib Bashir, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Dillon Pennington, Ollie Pope, Matthew Potts, Joe Root, Jamie Smith, Chris Woakes

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