Joe Root will lead England out for the first time as England’s Test captain when they take on South Africa at Lord’s starting July 6. He was appointed captain after Alastair Cook stepped down as skipper following a disastrous series in India. Root will have the luxury of picking from 12 players who were named in the squad for the opening Test.
Gary Ballance has returned to the side after last playing against Bangladesh in October and he is currently the captain of England Lions in the practice game against the Proteas. Ballance was dropped following a rough patch in Bangladesh that saw him score just 24 runs in the two Tests. Also included in the squad is Stuart Broad who was sweating over a heel injury but has done enough to be included. He is now expected to be fit to lead the English attack alongside new-ball partner James Anderson, who has also recovered from a
Also included in the squad is Stuart Broad who was sweating over a heel injury but has done enough to be included. He is now expected to be fit to lead the English attack alongside new-ball partner James Anderson, who has also recovered from a groin strain.
Spinner Liam Dawson also has a chance to retain his place after making debut against India in December. He picked up just two wickets in the fifth and final Test of the series but impressed with 66 runs.
Seamer Toby Roland-Jones who made his ODI debut against Ireland could be handed a Test cap on his home ground. He comes in as an able replacement for Chris Woakes, who is out with a side strain, and Jake Ball, to a knee injury.
Chairman of Selectors James Whitaker said: “There is great excitement around the first Test of the summer and with the start of a new era under the captaincy of Joe Root this is an exciting time for English cricket.
“Toby Roland-Jones is a player we have been monitoring for quite some time and deserves his chance after a strong couple of seasons with Middlesex in red ball cricket. He came close last year when he was named in the Test squad against Pakistan in July. Toby has been in good form this campaign and his ability to seam the ball along with the fact that he can score useful runs down the order gives us a number of options.
“Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance could play his first Test since October. He has been in fantastic touch with the bat in the Championship averaging over 100. He deserves to be included and we feel that he will add maturity and experience to our middle-order.
“On behalf of the selectors, I would like to wish Joe Root, Trevor Bayliss and all the squad the very best for what will be a competitive series against South Africa.”
England squad: Joe Root (capt), Alastair Cook, Keaton Jennings, Gary Ballance, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, Liam Dawson, Toby Roland-Jones, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Jimmy Anderson.