London, July 27 (IANS) Jofra Archer has been rewarded for his brilliant performance in the ICC World Cup as the right-arm pacer has been included in the 14-man England squad for the first Ashes Test against Australia beginning on Thursday.
Archer took 20 wickets during England’s successful campaign, bowling the crucial Super Over in the final at the Lord’s on July 14. The 24-year-old returned to action for Sussex last night in the Vitality T20 Blast after a sore left side. His readiness for five-day cricket will, however, be assessed at Edgbaston. Since making his senior debut in 2016, Archer has played 28 first-class matches taking 131 wickets at 23.44.
Jos Buttler and all-rounder Ben Stokes return to the Test squad having been rested for the Ireland Test while Lewis Gregory and Jack Leach, Man of the Match at Lord’s, have been left out.
Alongside Archer, the other five fast-bowlers in the squad include James Anderson who is expected to be fit after missing the match against Ireland as a precaution whilst managing a calf injury. Stuart Broad, Olly Stone and Sam Curran are all included after doing well at Lord’s while Moeen Ali is the only spinner selected. Leach will, however, train with England in the build-up to the match given he is not part of Somerset’s T20 squad.
Stokes has also been reappointed to the Test vice-captaincy for the first time since the well-publicised incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017.
“Though it is unusual to select a squad of 14 for a home Test, there are compelling reasons to do so here. Several bowlers are recovering from injuries or niggles. In addition, some bowlers who played in the World Cup are being closely monitored to assess their preparation for Test match cricket,” said Chief selector Ed Smith
“The wider circumstances — a successful home World Cup campaign followed so quickly by a home Ashes series — are unprecedented. It feels sensible to select an expanded squad and leave a number of bowling options open for the final team selection.”
England squad for Edgbaston Test: Joe Root, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone and Chris Woakes.