London: Somerset spinner Dom Bess has earned a maiden call-up in the 12-man England squad for the opening Test of the two-match series against Pakistan, beginning at the Lord’s on May 24.
England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler, who made his last Test appearance during the fifth match against India in Chennai in December 2016, has been recalled to the national squad.
20-year-old Bess seemed to have received call-up on the back of his impressive performance in the Champion County match for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) against Essex in March when he bagged eight wickets besides scoring a century to help his side come out victorious.
Reflecting on Bess’ inclusion, national selector Ed Smith said that the uncapped spinner has been roped in the squad as a replacement for left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who broke his thumb recently.
“Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career. He has impressed everyone with his performances for Somerset and when he has been given opportunities with England representative teams. With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler,” Ed Smith said of Bess, who has played 16 first-class matches.
Talking about Buttler, the national selector said that this is the right time to reintroduce the batsman to the Test cricket, adding that he would surely bring unique qualities to the team.
“Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England’s white ball teams. The selection panel feels that this is the perfect moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket, where he has already enjoyed some success, including a stint playing as a specialist batsman at number seven. Jos is playing with great confidence and flair, and he will bring unique qualities to the Test team,” he said.
While top-order batsman James Vince has been left out following a run of low scores at Test level, wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow has retained his spot behind the stumps.
The entire England squad for first Test against Pakistan is as follows:
Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Dawid Malan, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.