England will once again face a selection dilemma over the make-up of their pace attack after an unchanged 14-man squad was named on Wednesday for next week’s first Test against Pakistan.
Joe Root’s side rotated their frontline fast bowlers during the 2-1 series win over the West Indies, which ended on Tuesday, with the competition for places intense.
Stuart Broad responded to being left out of the opener with 16 wickets at under 11 in the last two Tests, while Chris Woakes ended the series with five wickets in the West Indies second innings.
James Anderson is England’s leading wicket-taker. The raw pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood has swung matches in England’s favour in the past while Sam Curran has won every Test he has played in at home.
Wood and Curran were the unfortunate seamers to be left out of the decider at Old Trafford but they have been retained in the squad to face Pakistan at the same ground next Wednesday.
Top-order batsmen James Bracey and Dan Lawrence, wicketkeeper Ben Foakes and slow left-armer Jack Leach will stay on with the group as reserves.
“After three Tests in quick succession against the West Indies, we now turn to an equally condensed Test series against Pakistan, with 15 days of Test cricket scheduled in a three-week period,” said national selector Ed Smith.
“Our 14-man squad is unchanged. County cricket now restarts on Saturday, 1st August. We want to have sufficient reserves inside the bio-secure Test match ‘bubble’ but we may also want to give opportunities, where possible, for the reserves to play county cricket.
“As we seek the best balance here, England may make changes to the reserves during the three-match series against Pakistan.”
The second Test starts at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton on August 13, with the third match taking place at the same venue from August 21.
The Tests are taking place behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.