Rarely does a 143-run victory give ECB selectors so much food for thought, but a serious scare against Ireland at Lord’s was far from the ideal preparation for the Ashes.
England have now named their 14-man squad ahead of the first Test at Edgbaston.
Jofra Archer is called up for the first time in the five-day format, while Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and James Anderson will all return having been rested against Ireland.
It is a slightly extended squad due to a number of injury concerns, but Ed Smith’s decision to branch out also reflects growing uncertainty surrounding the Test XI.
Stokes returns to the vice-captaincy
England are looking to capitalise on the feel-good atmosphere generated by the World Cup and as such, Stokes has been rewarded by being re-instated as vice-captain.
The all-rounder was stripped of that position in September 2017 after his arrest in Bristol.
The ECB released the following statement: “Colin Graves, chairman of the ECB, has approved the reappointment of Ben Stokes as Test vice-captain following the recommendation from managing director of England men’s cricket Ashley Giles and ECB chief executive Tom Harrison.”
Uncapped Archer to debut
Archer, another star of the summer, is set to make his first Test appearance.
The 24-year-old has been suffering with a side strain but has recovered in time. His selection was sealed with his two wickets in Sussex’s tie with Surrey in the Vitality Blast.
Leach misses out
However, there is no room for England’s more recent hero of the hour, Jack Leach.
Despite being named man of the match at Lord’s as the night-watchman hit 92 on an exceptionally difficult pitch, his more conventional role as a left-arm spinner is not going to be required.
Olly Stone keeps his place thanks to his three wickets in Ireland’s first innings.
Who will open the batting?
The perennial question is still unanswered after another abject batting display in the Ireland match. The death knell for Keaton Jennings’ Test career may have sounded, yet Rory Burns quickly needs to start contributing too, even if he deserves some leeway due to his excellent record at county level. The Surrey batsman made just 12 across his two innings last time out. Joe Denly, meanwhile, scored 23 and 10, albeit he can count himself unlucky – and undone by Joe Root – in his run out by Kevin O’Brien.
The first Test begins on August 1.
Squad in full: Joe Root (Yorkshire) captain; Moeen Ali (Worcestershire); Jimmy Anderson (Lancashire); Jofra Archer (Sussex); Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire); Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire); Rory Burns (Surrey); Jos Buttler (Lancashire); Sam Curran (Surrey); Joe Denly (Kent); Jason Roy (Surrey); Ben Stokes (Durham) vice-captain; Olly Stone (Warwickshire); Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)