England have decided to name a pace-heavy squad for the much-anticipated first Test against West Indies – a match which will mark the resumption of international cricket in post-COVID era. The 13-member contingent is heavy on the fast bowling department, featuring James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in addition to all-rounders Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes. Whereas Somerset off-spinner Dominic Bess is the lone slow bowling option in the squad.
Meanwhile, Stokes is set to become England’s 81st Test captain in the absence of regular skipper Joe Root, who is missing the game due to the birth of his second child.
Nevertheless, the selectors have kept as many as nine players in the reserve in order to counter any unforeseen situation due to the ongoing pandemic. Sam Curran, who was earlier withdrawn mid-way through the three-day intra-squad warm-up game due to a stomach upset has found place in the reserves, as is wicket-keeper Ben Foakes.
The Test will start on July 8 (Wednesday) at the Ages Bowl, Southampton and will be played behind close doors.
England squad for the first Test:
Ben Stokes (c), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
James Bracey, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, Olly Stone