England have announced a squad of 13 players from which the XI for their first Test against West Indies at the Ageas Bowl will be picked, with nine players named as reserves.
Many of the selection debates ahead of the series have been clarified. The battle for the top six had been heating up, with Dan Lawrence and James Bracey putting up strong claims in England’s three-day intra-squad warm-up match. However, both have only made the reserve squad, meaning a top six of Rory Burns, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, and Ollie Pope is almost certain. It had already been confirmed that regular Test captain Joe Root would miss out to attend the birth of his second child.
Jos Buttler, named as vice-captain, is the only wicketkeeper in the 13, with Ben Foakes and Bracey the back-ups in the reserves. There is no space in either group for Jonny Bairstow, a blow to his long-term Test ambitions.
Dom Bess is the only spinner in the 13, with Jack Leach in the reserves. Bess was the most impressive spinner on display in the warm-up, claiming 2-60 in 20 first-innings overs. Moeen Ali and Matt Parkinson have been excluded altogether.
There is set to be plenty of competition for places in the fast bowling department. Jofra Archer, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, and Chris Woakes are set to compete for three spots. Sam Curran, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, and Olly Stone are all in the reserves. Aside from Bairstow and Moeen, Lewis Greogry, Jamie Overton, and Amar Virdi are the three players to feature in the warm-up not to make the squad or the reserves.
England squad for the first Test against West Indies:
James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (wk), Zak Crawley, Joe Denly, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes (c), Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
England reserves for the first Test against West Indies:
James Bracey, Sam Curran, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Ollie Robinson, Olly Stone