Jofra Archer, James Anderson and Mark Wood on Thursday made a return to the 14-man England squad for the series-deciding third Test against West Indies at Old Trafford, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced on Thursday.
The three quicks missed England’s 113-run victory over West Indies in the second Test as Stuart Broad, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes were picked. While Archer was excluded after a breach of bio-secure protocol, Anderson and Wood were rested.
Archer was subject to heavy criticism after he broke the bio-secure bubble following the conclusion of Southampton Test and was subsequently axed from the squad for the Manchester Test.
Archer had revealed facing racist abuse on social media in the aftermath of the mistake he committed. Following the second negative Covid-19 test, Archer was allowed to rejoin the squad for the final Test of the series.
The three pacers will now fight for a place in the first XI with Broad, Woakes and Curran as the hosts aim for the win that will see them regain the Wisden Trophy.
England face a selection dilemma in the pace unit. Broad was left out of the first Test but bounced back in style in the second game, picking up three wickets in each innings.
Archer had a poor start to the series in the first innings in Southampton but breathed fire with three wickets in the second innings, albeit in a losing cause. Anderson bagged three wickets across two innings in Southampton, but given he is England’s all-time leading wicket taker, his place should not be in doubt.
Curran and Woakes were left out of the XI in the first Test. Woakes got five wickets in the second game while Curran got three.
“We’ve got to put out the strongest attack out that’s available to us," England coach Chris Silverwood said recently about the selection dilemma. “It’s very difficult to keep everybody happy all the time. But if you do things for the right reason, I think there’s an understanding there. It’s about being very honest and open with what we are trying to do and why.
“Everyone wants to play all the time and I’d probably be more disappointed if they didn’t. When you’re leaving out world-class players, from my point of view it’s a very good place for English cricket to be. It’s never easy and you’re always going to get pushback. But you try to be as honest as possible."
Squad: Joe Root (C), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
(With IANS inputs)