All-rounder Ben Stokes returned to the red-ball set up as England on Wednesday named a 17-player squad for the opening two Tests against India, starting at Trent Bridge from August 4.
Stokes had missed the two-Test series against New Zealand due to the finger injury he sustained during this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL). He recently led England to a 3-0 series win over Pakistan.
“A home Test series against India is one of the most anticipated red-ball series and this promises to be an outstanding five Tests,” said England coach Chris Silverwood, who is expecting a competitive series against India.
Stokes was named the skipper of England’s makeshift squad after the COVID-19 outbreak in the camp forced first-team players and staff members to go into quarantine.
“India are a quality team who have shown their ability to get results away from home. We are expecting a highly competitive series and have selected our strongest possible squad,” added Silverwood.
Along with Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Sam Curran have also made the cut. Paceman Ollie Robinson has also made a swift return to England’s Test contingent. Robinson had performed well on his England debut, taking seven wickets at Lord’s including a four-wicket haul. Opener Haseeb Hameed, who is playing the three-day warm-up game against India, has also been included.
Speedsters Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes, however, are unavailable for the first two Tests due to injuries.
“Ben Stokes returns to the Test squad after he missed the two-match series against New Zealand in June to enable continued management of the finger injury he sustained during the Indian Premier League,” stated ECB in a release.
“Archer continues to progress following elbow surgery but is not ready at this point to return to Test cricket. Woakes suffered a bruised heel last week and is expected to be available later in the series,” it further read.
Joe Root (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wkt), Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood
England v India Test fixtures
Aug 4-8: 1ST TEST, Trent Bridge, Nottingham
Aug 12-16: 2ND TEST, Lord’s, London
Aug 25-29: 3RD TEST, Emerald Headingley, Leeds
Sep 2-6: 4TH TEST, Kia Oval, London
Sep 10-14: 5TH Test, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester