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England v Pakistan

Hussain explains why leaving out Woakes for Archer or Wood will be ‘sensible rotation’

by Wisden Staff 2-minute read

Nasser Hussain, the former England captain, has called for England to play one of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in every Test from now till the Ashes next year, starting from the first match of the three-Test series against Pakistan.

Hussain wants two of James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes to play the first Test against Pakistan, with an “eye on the future”. He added that if playing one of Archer and Wood leads to Woakes being left out, who finished the series against West Indies with a five-for in the last innings, it cannot be called a case of “dropping” but “sensible rotation”.

“I have gone one way and then the other when thinking about what that bowling combination should be for Wednesday’s first Test,” Hussain wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. “I’ve always said I would play two of Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes because you do have to have one eye on the future.

“And if they did pick all three on Wednesday, then England are giving themselves problems ahead of the second of three back-to-back Tests which is at the Ageas Bowl only three days after this one finishes.

“So there is a case for leaving out Woakes, even though he took a five-for in the second innings of the last Test against West Indies. And if he doesn’t play it would — on this occasion — be sensible rotation rather than dropping him.

“I know the Ashes series in Australia is still 18 months away, but ideally I would like to see Jofra Archer or Mark Wood — with their express pace — play in every Test between now and then, because England have to build an attack that can take wickets in all conditions.

“England could, of course, omit Dom Bess and leave their spin to the captain, but the problem with that is that Bess will only get better the more he plays. And if Stokes is fully fit to bowl then England would have five seamers and that’s one too many.

“Whatever England decide, it should not be an issue or a distraction on Wednesday morning because the most important thing is that they continue to put the building blocks in place that can take them back to No 1 in the Test rankings.”

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