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England announce Test squad for tour of SA; Bairstow, Anderson return

James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow and Mark Wood, who were not in the recent Test squad that toured New Zealand last month, have been recalled to the England side for the upcoming tour of South Africa. Wood last played a Test match in February and was sidelined from midway from the ICC Cricket World Cup in July due to a knee injury and a side strain. However, he has recovered well before expected, which means that Saqib Mahmood becomes the player to miss out from the tour of the Rainbow Nation. 

National selector Ed Smith was quoted as saying, “With James Anderson and Mark Wood returning to the squad, Saqib Mahmood is the unfortunate player to miss out.

“It is not predicted that Mark will be available for selection for the earliest matches.

“However, he will travel with the team and continue his rehab work with the medical staff on tour.

“There is no exact date given for his return, but the medical team is working towards him becoming fully available for selection during the tour.

“With that in mind, and given the extended period that James and Mark have had on the sidelines due to injury, it was sensible to have a 17-man squad.”

Anderson has been plagued by continuous injuries, with the most recent one being the calf injury that forced him to miss the Ashes this August. He along with Wood trained with coaches Neil Kileen and Glen Chapple to get fit for the upcoming series of South Africa that begins with a practice match on December 17. 

Bairstow returns to the side after a poor run in the Ashes that saw him miss the recent series against New Zealand. 

The four match Test series is a part of the World Test Championships, and will get underway from Boxing Day in Centurion. 

England squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire, capt), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Jack Leach (Somerset), Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Dominic Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham, vice-capt), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

This postgraduate in English Literature from Kolkata has taken on the tough task of limiting the mystic world of cricket to a few hundred words. A firm believer that Kohli is a wizard with the willow, she spends her time awaiting the next Indian spring triumph.

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