Ollie Robinson has been named in England’s 14-man squad for the second Test against Pakistan.
The uncapped Sussex seamer’s inclusion in place of Ben Stokes, who will miss the final two Tests for family reasons, is the one change England have made to their squad for the first Test. That means Jos Buttler, who struggled with the gloves but excelled with the bat in England’s first Test win, will retain his place as Ben Foakes misses out again.
England face a dilemma over the make-up of their bowling attack for the second Test. Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, James Anderson, and Dom Bess where the five bowlers used at Emirates Old Trafford. On form, Archer and Anderson are the two quicks most likely to miss out, with Woakes and Broad having dominated with bat and ball in recent times. However, with those two having played each of England’s last three Tests, the hosts may be tempted to rest one or both, having said they would employ a rotation policy at the start of the summer.
The three seamers in the squad who didn’t play the first Test are Sam Curran, Robinson, and Mark Wood. Wood and Curran played the first and second West Indies Tests respectively, but neither made an unanswerable case for retention. Wood’s extra pace offers something close to a like-for-like replacement for Archer, should England wish to leave him out, while Curran could help lengthen England’s batting line-up, something they may be keen to do in the absence of Stokes.
Robinson has been England’s next in line all summer, and starred in Sussex’s first Bob Willis Trophy clash against Hampshire. He could offer a new-ball option, if selected, and also has a creditable first-class record with the bat. With Somerset left-arm spinner Jack Leach left out, Bess is likely to retain his place, though could still drop out if England opt for an all-pace attack, with Joe Root’s off-spin giving them a part-time option.
Zak Crawley is all but certain to come back in, with England having named only five other top-six batsmen in the squad. He missed England’s last two Tests due to a rebalancing of the side to help ease Stokes’ bowling workload.
The second Test begins tomorrow at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. An England win would give them their first Test series victory over Pakistan since 2010.
England Test squad:
Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.