The England selectors had a few surprises in store when the squad for the first test against Pakistan was revealed. In a rather surprising move, the selectors handed left handed middle order batsman Gary Ballance a recall after some impressive performances in the county circuit. Despite some serious speculation about Jos Buttler making his test comeback as a sole batsman, there was no such news from England’s camp.
The team management also announced that star batsman Joe Root would bat higher up the order at number 3 for the series against Pakistan. Root had a disappointing outing against Sri Lanka as he struggled to play a big innings. The think tank, however, displayed some faith in the right-hander by having him at number 3 for the series against the unpredictable Pakistani outfit.
Backing the run machine to excel at his new position, skipper Alastair Cook was quoted saying, “It’s a conversation we’ve had over the last week, it’s the right thing to do, he’s our best player, and it’s quite an Australian thing to do. There’s no reason why he won’t score the same amount of runs as at No. 4.”
“Like always, the selection is very opinionated, and they could have picked him but the lack of cricket in the last few weeks has meant they’ve gone that way,” Cook added about the squad selected. “He hasn’t changed a huge amount in terms of technique, just keep evolving it to keep it in as good a position as you can. What he does have is that hard edge,” Cook said about southpaw Gary Ballance.
Expressing his disappointment over the injury to new ball partner James Anderson, pacer Stuart Broad said, “It’s disappointing that Jimmy hasn’t made it but Jake’s in the squad, he’s started the season in fantastic form.” “He’s had a slight elbow niggle but he’s learnt a lot about his bowling in last 18 months and he’s ready to make that step up “He’s got physical attributes, he moves the ball both ways, comes round the wicket to the left-handers and hits the ball harder. You can’t make judgments about temperament, but he’s taken wickets on TV which is a good sign.”