England have selected a 12 men squad for the first Investec Test against Pakistan at the Lord’s, starting on July 14.
Gary Ballance has been recalled for the match while Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones has been called to the squad for the first time in his career. The 28-year-old bowler has been in tremendous form for his county this season. He has taken 30 wickets in County Championship in nine matches at an average of 29.07.
On the other hand, 26 year old Ballance last played for England a year ago against Australia at Lord’s. Earlier this week, Ballance scored a superb 132 in the first innings against Middlesex at Scarborough.
However, England pace spearhead James Anderson has been ruled out from the first Test as he failed to recover from his right shoulder injury sustained in the third Test against Sri Lanka earlier this month.
“Building on the success of the Test series win against Sri Lanka last month, we have maintained our objective of retaining a balanced squad,” said National Selector James Whitaker.
“With an injury to James Anderson, there is an opportunity for Toby Roland-Jones who has been a consistent performer in the County Championship over the last few years and deserves his chance.
“Gary Ballance is recalled to the Test squad for the first time since the winter series in South Africa and could play his first Test for England in 12 months. He has been in recent form with the bat for Yorkshire in the Championship. Gary is mentally strong and we feel that he will add quality and experience to England’s middle-order.
“Pakistan will give us a stiff challenge during this series and we can expect some fantastic cricket from both sides over the next couple of months.
“The selectors would like to take this opportunity to wish Alastair Cook, Trevor Bayliss and the rest of the squad the best of luck for the series.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan in their first warm-up match against Somerset produced good performances as Younis Khan and Azhar Ali scored hundreds in the first and second innings respectively. Bowler Mohammad Amir indicated that he will not be easy to face as his lightning fast deliveries with vicious swing shivered Somerset dressing room.
Somerset batsman Marcus Trescothick warned England batsmen already while coach Matthew Maynard said Amir resembles famous West Indies bowler Andy Roberts .
England squad : Alastair Cook (Essex, captain), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex), James Vince (Hampshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)