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Ashes 2019: Archer in, Stokes Back as Vice-captain as England Announce Squad for First Test

Cricketnext Staff |July 28, 2019, 10:05 AM IST
Ashes 2019: Archer in, Stokes Back as Vice-captain as England Announce Squad for First Test

World Cup hero Jofra Archer has been handed a maiden Test call-up as England named a strong 14-man squad for the first Ashes Test on Saturday (July 27).

Ben Stokes has been reinstated as vice-captain, assuming responsibility from Jos Buttler, having been stripped off the role in the aftermath of the Bristol nightclub incident where he was allegedly involved in a fight in 2017.

Jason Roy, who scored a maiden half-century in his debut Test against Ireland earlier this week retains his place in the side, so do Olly Stone and Joe Denly. Off-spinner Jack Leach's man of the match performance in the Ireland Test wasn't enough for him to hold his spot while pacer Lewis Gregory has also been dropped.

National selector Ed Smith said that selecting a squad of 14 was unusual for a home Test but there were compelling reasons to do so.

"Several bowlers are recovering from injuries or niggles," Smith said. "In addition, some bowlers who played in the World Cup are being closely monitored to assess their preparation for Test match cricket," Smith said.

"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."

Archer returned to competitive action for Sussex in a T20 Blast game on Friday night after missing the Ireland Test due to a side strain. He finished with impressive figures of 2/21 further convincing the selectors to pick him for the marquee first Test against Australia.

James Anderson, who too missed the Test against Ireland owing to a calf injury makes it to the 14-man squad and is expected to be fit come the Ashes. Ten of the 11 players that got the better of Ireland on Friday are included in the squad with Stokes, Buttler, Archer and Anderson joining them.

Adil Rashid missed out on a place with England opting for a pace heavy unit. Anderson and Stuart Broad are expected to lead the bowling unit backed by Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Archer and Stone. Stokes, Denly and Moeen Ali will provide the all-round options.

The first Ashes Test will get underway on August 1 in Birmingham.

England squad: Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

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