London: Somerset off-spinner Dominic Bess will make his England debut in the first Test against Pakistan on Friday, captain Joe Root has confirmed.
Bess was included after county colleague Jack Leach was forced to withdraw with injury.
England have named 12 players and still have to decide between seam-bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes and fast bowler Mark Wood for the last place in their XI for the first of this two-Test series, with Root saying conditions on the morning of the match would influence which way they went.
Bess, 20, has added a touch of youthful enthusiasm to an England squad attempting to bounce back after failing to win any of their seven combined Tests in Australia and New Zealand.
“He seems really clear about what he wants to do in the game and how to approach this week, and that’s all you can ask for from someone making their debut,” Root told reporters at Lord’s on Wednesday.
“I remember mine, you just want tomorrow to come around, to get your cap and get on with it.
“He’s approached the week really well and hopefully he can have a good start to what’s a good, long career.” Bess is not the only change to England’s side, with Jos Buttler recalled as a specialist number seven batsman.
Root has moved up to number three in the batting order, with wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow promoted to number five.
“We want a side that covers as much as possible, that gives us the best options we can have in each department,” said Root.
“Jos at seven can be an exciting and integral part of our batting unit, to take the game to the opposition from a position of strength and make it even stronger.
“The way he approaches his white-ball cricket, I think a lot of that can cross over. He’s got a good brain, a lot of experience in white-ball cricket and this is an opportunity to do that in Test cricket.”
Meanwhile, Bairstow, a county colleague of Root’s at Yorkshire, had no qualms about moving up from seven to five in the order while still retaining his position as England’s Test keeper.
“You wouldn’t be playing at the highest level if you weren’t able to cope with the pressure,” he told Sky Sports News.
“It comes with expectation as well.” As for putting England’s disappointing southern hemisphere tour behind them, Bairstow added: “It was a struggle this winter but we’ve had chance to speak about it and work out ways to move forward.
“Our record at home is very good and we need people to be coming here and going, ‘OK, we’ve got a serious challenge on to win in England”.