Bess preferred to Moeen Ali and Jack Leach; Jonny Bairstow misses out; Ben Stokes to become England’s 81st men’s Test captain
Last Updated: 04/07/20 11:18am
Dom Bess has been named as England’s sole spinner in a 13-man squad for the first #raisethebat Test against West Indies at The Ageas Bowl.
The 22-year-old has won the battle with Somerset team-mate Jack Leach and Moeen Ali for the slow-bowling berth he regained over the winter due to Leach’s Leach’s illness and Ali having taken a break from Test cricket.
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)
Leach has been named as one of nine reserves for the match, while Ali – who has not played a Test since August – has been left out entirely.
England vs W Indies
July 8, 2020, 10:30am
Jos Buttler will keep wicket in the series opener – live on Sky Sports from 10.30am on Wednesday – with Jonny Bairstow omitted and Ben Foakes only named as one of the reserve players for the game in Southampton.
Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley and Joe Denly look poised to comprise England’s top four, with regular skipper Joe Root missing the match due to the impending birth of his second child, meaning Ben Stokes will captain the side and become England’s 81st men’s Test skipper.
Denly, 34, has been retained despite averaging just 30 in his 14 Tests to date and not yet hitting a century – his highest score so far is the 94 he struck in the final Ashes Test against Australia at The Oval last summer.
England have named five seamers, in addition to Stokes, with James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes vying for places in the starting XI against West Indies.
Leach and Foakes are joined on the reserve list by all-rounder Sam Curran – who has tested negative for coronavirus after falling ill – and seamers Craig Overton and Olly Stone, as well as four players uncapped at Test level.
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)
Gloucestershire wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey – who struck 85 on day one of England’s internal warm-up match last week – is among the supplementary group, along with Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson, Lancashire paceman Saqib Mahmood and Essex batsman Dan Lawrence.
Root, Bairstow, Moeen, Lewis Gregory, Jamie Overton, Amar Virdi, Keaton Jennings and Matthew Parkinson are the eight players that filled out England’s initial training group of 30 not to be named in either the 13-man Test squad or nine-man reserve list.
Root will self-isolate for seven days after the birth before joining up with the England squad ahead of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford, which begins on July 16 – the final Test, also at Emirates Old Trafford, starts on July 24.