London: Jonathan Bairstow was named in an England Test squad for the first time on Sunday when he was included in a 13-man party for the series opener against the West Indies at Lord's starting Thursday.
The 22-year-old Yorkshireman is set to bat at number six if selected after allrounder Ravi Bopara, in line to fill that middle order spot, was omitted from the squad after suffering a thigh injury playing for Essex. Bairstow, who has played in six one-day internationals and six Twenty20 internationals, is the only player in England's 13 yet to be capped at Test level. Since making an impressive ODI debut against India in Cardiff last September, he has also continued to shine in the longer format this year with two centuries already in this season's County Championship.
He has also made a fifty in the ongoing tour match between the second-string England Lions and the West Indies which concludes at Northampton on Sunday. And were he to be selected on Thursday, Bairstow would complete a notable family double as he is the son of the late former Yorkshire and England wicketkeeper David Bairstow, who appeared in four Tests from 1979 to 1981.
"Jonny Bairstow has put in a number of impressive performances both for England Lions and Yorkshire and has been working hard on the England Performance Programme over the last couple of years," said England national selector Geoff Miller after announcing the squad. "He is an exciting young player, who now has an opportunity to experience the Test environment," added Miller, a former England offspinner who played international cricket alongside David Bairstow.
England's squad, once more captained by opening batsman Andrew Strauss, also included five seamers in Steven Finn, Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions, as well as likely new ball duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad. "We have selected a very strong 13-man squad which allows us to consider a number of options before making a decision about Thursday's side," he added. "We have included five seam bowlers who have all demonstrated that they are capable of winning Test matches for England."
England won just once in five Tests during their winter series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates and away to Sri Lanka after reaching the top of the International Cricket Council rankings at home last year. "This is an important period for us following a challenging winter where we learnt some valuable lessons, and we are preparing for a highly competitive series against a West Indies side full of quality players," said Miller.
England squad: Andrew Strauss (capt.), Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Matt Prior (wk), Stuart Broad, Tim Bresnan, Graeme Swann, Steven Finn, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Graham Onions.
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