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Wisden writers pick their England XIs for the second Pakistan Test

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

With Ben Stokes unavailable for the remainder of the Test summer, England will be forced to make at least one change for the second Test against Pakistan at Southampton, and there are a variety of XIs they could pick to fill the huge void he leaves.

There are other questions over places too. While Jos Buttler enjoyed a sensational return to form with the bat in the first Test, his fallibility with the gloves led to calls from some for Ben Foakes to come back into the team. In the seam bowling department, James Anderson and Jofra Archer weren’t quite at their best, and Ollie Robinson could be in line for a debut after being called up to the England squad ahead of Sussex’s Bob Willis Trophy clash against Kent.

Jack Leach, one of the heroes of last summer, is yet to play a Test in 2020, and with Dom Bess not having nailed down his spot, the left-armer could come into contention. Speaking on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, three Wisden writers picked their England teams for the second Pakistan Test.

Ben Gardner, Wisden.com managing editor

Dom Sibley
Rory Burns
Zak Crawley
Joe Root
Ollie Pope
Jos Buttler
Chris Woakes
Sam Curran
Dom Bess
Stuart Broad
Jofra Archer

The thing for me is that Zak Crawley is not a proper replacement for Stokes as a batsman. Stokes is one of the best batsmen in the world. Zak Crawley is finding his feet, Test average of 26, first-class average of 30. You can’t expect him to make up for those returns even if he’s going to be a very good player. However good Zak Crawley might be, right now, he’s not as good a batsman as Ben Stokes. I think they should bring in Sam Curran for James Anderson to bolster that batting down the order, and then you get somewhere close.

The other intriguing possibility in my mind is to bring in Foakes and play Buttler as a batsman. I think Buttler should be given more time with the gloves to show that the last Test was an aberration rather than him not being able to keep on pitches that turn a bit. But bringing Foakes in would be the other way and then probably having four quicks and Root to bowl spin would be an option. But that’s a bit too funky, and England have rightly gone away from trying to meddle too much and having players who are keepers playing as batsmen and that sort of thing.

Phil Walker, Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief

Dom Sibley
Rory Burns
Zak Crawley
Joe Root
Ollie Pope
Jos Buttler
Chris Woakes
Sam Curran
Dom Bess
Stuart Broad
Jofra Archer

Disappointingly that’s the team I’ve picked as well. I’ve picked Crawley at three and Curran at eight with Woakes staying at seven. You do keep banging out these stats about Crawley, I’m not overly concerned about the stats. I don’t have any issue at all him being in the top six of England. I think he’s a good player. They are going on potential and I don’t have any issue with that at all. They’ve seen something in him over and above two seasons of county cricket, which, with the vagaries therein can lead to all kinds of things. It’s not a nice place to bat down at Canterbury. They’ve seen something in him. To my untrained eye I’ve seen something in him as well. I don’t have any issue with him being in this side.

Yas Rana, Wisden.com head of content

Dom Sibley
Rory Burns
Zak Crawley
Joe Root
Ollie Pope
Jos Buttler
Chris Woakes
Sam Curran
Stuart Broad
Ollie Robinson
Jack Leach

I’d still like to see Jack Leach play. You’ve got all those right-handers in the Pakistan order. Bess has got seven wickets so far this summer. He’s not bowled badly but he’s not bowled great. He was quite good at containing in the West Indies series, less good in the Pakistan Test. Even if they were exactly as good as each other as bowlers just because of the left hand/right hand thing.

I’m leaving out Archer and Anderson and bringing in Curran and Robinson, partly because I think it is important for them to rotate the squad. They talked about it at the start of the summer and you don’t want to be in a situation where England lose this Test match and suddenly their first-choice attack have just played three Test matches on the bounce and then you actually have to rest one of your big guns. Jason Holder is quite a Robinson-like bowler and bowled very very well in Southampton. If the pitches aren’t dissimilar I think Robinson’s got a good chance of doing well.

This article was brought to you in association with Wisden’s official betting partner, bet365 . For all the latest England vs Pakistan odds and in-play markets, visit bet365

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