Players' unhappiness in end-of-season review put Australia coach Justin Langer in a spot
27 May 2021
Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Dom Bess, and Sam Curran all have returned to the England Test squad for the first two Tests of the home series against India. The squad also sees the return of Ollie Robinson, who was banned from international cricket due to “historic” tweets in the last series against New Zealand.
The fast bowling group will comprise James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood and all-rounder Sam Curran while the responsibility of the spin department will fall on the shoulders of Jack Leach and Dom Bess.
The duo of Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley have been retained after a tough last home series against New Zealand however they have been put under notice by the selection of Haseeb Hameed in the side
Wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey has been dropped from the side that played against the Kiwis.
In the middle order, Ollie Pope and Dan Lawrence, too, have been retained from the last squad against the Blackcaps.
Bairstow would consider himself lucky to be able to return in the longest format after a horrific last series with the bat against India batting at the all-important number three position. He was rested from the first two Tests of the series played in Chennai and his returns in the last two Tests of the series were abysmal.
It was feared and speculated that Bairstow will be one of the scapegoats for England’s big defeat in India but the latest developments would give him much-needed relief.
The all-powerful coach Chris Silverwood, who also oversees the selection of players now, may well look at him as a number three batsman in place of Zak Crawley, who was found wanting agast New Zealand.
Or else, he could well come in the squad as a second wicketkeeper other than Buttler after James Bracey’s rather unceremonious introduction to Test cricket.
Notably, England have hinted they will continue rotation of their big and multi-format players and it could open a door of opportunity for Bairstow to come into the playing XI at some point during the series against India.
England team for first 2 Tests
Joe Root (C), Ben Stokes, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler (WK), Sam Curran, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson, Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Dom Sibley, Jack Leach, Dan Lawrence, Johnny Bairstow, Mark Wood, Dom Bess, Ollie Pope