The England Cricket Board (ECB) has announced a 30-man squad for their behind-closed-doors training session for the upcoming Test series against the West Indies at home. The English squad will train at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, a stadium that is also slated to host the first Test on July 8.
The group will play a three-day practice match amongst themselves on July 1, post which the final team for the first Test will be announced. On the other hand, the West Indies team has already travelled to the United Kingdom and have been practising at Old Trafford since June 9.
Moeen Ali, who opted out of the longer format last year after five consecutive years in the international circuit, is in contention to feature in the Test team for the first time in almost a year as he has been named in the 30-man squad. The ECB has also included uncapped players like James Bracey, Lewis Gregory, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Jamie Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Robinson and Amar Virdi in the squad.
There’s a chance that England’s red-ball captain Joe Root may miss out on a Test in this series as he and his wife are expecting their second child. In order to attend the birth, Root will have to skip a Test due to the bio-security protocols put in place to deal with COVID-19. That puts Ben Stokes in contention to lead the team and he hopes to be ‘Scottie Pippen to Joe’s Michael Jordan.’
The ECB has also confirmed the coaching staff for this tour which will include the likes of Lancashire’s Glen Chapple, who will be working with the bowlers, Gloucestershire’s Richard Dawson, who coached England Lions on their tour of Australia earlier in the year, as the spin-bowling coach and Kent’s Matthew Walker, who will assist batting coach Graham Thorpe. Chris Silverwood will remain as head coach, aided by former England wicketkeeper Chris Read as wicketkeeping consultant and ECB National Lead Fielding coach Carl Hopkinson. Assistant coach Paul Collingwood will not be a part of this squad but will take over once the ODI series against Ireland gets confirmed.
This series has been named as #RaiseTheBat Test series in order to pay homage to all key workers fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. The players will be wearing the names of the key workers nominated by local cricket clubs on their training gear before the start of the match. This series will be played behind closed doors and will mark the official return of International cricket.
The following is the schedule for the Test series:
1st Test | July 8-12: Ageas Bowl, Southampton
2nd Test | July 16-20:ECB Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
3rd Test | July 24-28: Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
Here’s the 30-man squad announced by the ECB:
Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Dominic Bess, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, Lewis Gregory, Keaton Jennings, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Amar Virdi, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
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