Jofra Archer ruled out of the summer and Zak Crawley keeps his place – takeaways from England’s Test squad to face Ireland
England have named their 15-man squad to face Ireland in a one-off Test match at Lord’s from June 1. Here are the key takeaways.
Jonny Bairstow has replaced Ben Foakes, and barring Ollie Pope, is the only real wicketkeeping option in the squad. Chris Woakes, too, returns despite not playing a home Test match since 2020.
Zak Crawley retains his place in the squad despite a patchy run of form in the Test side, while Jofra Archer has been ruled out for the entire summer.
Matty Potts and Dan Lawrence have both been recalled, while James Anderson keeps his place despite picking up a light groin strain playing for Lancashire.
England squad to face Ireland
Ben Stokes (c), Ollie Pope (vc & wk), Jonny Bairstow (wk), James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Matty Potts, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Ben Foakes misses out
After weeks of speculation as to how England could squeeze eight cricketers into seven spots, we have an answer: Foakes makes way.
Bairstow has not played international cricket since breaking his leg playing golf last August, but was a key figure in the early days of Stokes’ captaincy, with four hundreds in six Test matches.
He will take the big gloves, and will probably be slotted in at seven as a like-for-like replacement for Foakes, with Brook staying at five after making a stellar start to his Test career over the winter.
Spare a thought for Foakes, though, who has done very little wrong in an England shirt, only to find himself out of the squad yet again. He averages 39 under Stokes’ captaincy and scored a match-defining hundred against South Africa last summer.
Surrey sent the selectors a not-so-subtle reminder of his talents after the squad was announced by posting a compilation of the keeper’s catches from last week’s County Championship win over Middlesex on Twitter.
Zak Crawley keeps his place
There was talk of a middle-order batter replacing Crawley at the top of the order to make way for Foakes and Bairstow in the XI, but the Kent man remains in the squad and looks set to open with Ben Duckett against Ireland.
Crawley has scored 350 runs in nine Championship innings so far this summer with a hundred and two fifties, but has also been dismissed for four single-figure scores. He averages 22 in Test cricket since the start of 2021, but has shown glimpses of his best form this summer and retains the backing of Stokes and Brendon McCullum.
Jofra Archer out for the summer
After he returned home from the IPL with yet another elbow problem, England have now confirmed their premier fast bowler Archer is out for the entirety of the English summer. Now 28, he has not played Test cricket since February 2021, and being without him for another Ashes series will be a huge blow after his battle with Steve Smith in 2019.
Stokes’ plan to have eight quicks available this summer is beginning to look shaky, with Brydon Carse and Olly Stone also unavailable through injuries.
There is one key bowler who has made the squad despite a recent knock, though.
James Anderson makes the squad
Many feared the worst after 40-year-old Anderson pulled up with a groin strain in Lancashire’s County Championship clash with Somerset. He took no further part in the game, but his inclusion in the Ireland squad suggests England are confident of a speedy recovery.
It is not yet clear if he will actually play the Test match, and whether Stokes will be keen to ensure his 685-wicket man is 100 percent fit after his role in the first Ashes Test, in Edgbaston, four years ago.
He bowled four overs on day one before being forced off, leaving England a bowler down for the rest of the Test match, and they lost heavily. Anderson played no further part in the series.
England will be keen to avoid a repeat of that, but the Lancashire man is not an easy player to leave out. Only Stuart Broad has taken more Ashes wickets than him in this century.
Chris Woakes returns
The Warwickshire all-rounder has not played a home Test match since September 2021, but could be back in the side at the start of June. His record in England (94 wickets at 23, 952 runs at 35), especially at Lord’s (27 wickets at 11.33, 306 runs at 61.20) are excellent. He also shone in England’s last Test match against Ireland in 2019, taking 6-17 as the visitors were bowled out for 38.
Stokes may be more interested in Woakes’ ability to balance the side as a lower-order batter, with his runs at number eight are potentially vital ahead of a tail that has looked long at times.
Potts is also back in the squad after taking 24 wickets in four Championship games this season.
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