LONDON: Jonny Bairstow has been recalled as England’s Test wicketkeeper at the expense of Ben Foakes for next month’s one-off Test against Ireland. James Anderson is also included in the 15-man squad, despite suffering a minor groin strain while playing for Lancashire last week.
Jofra Archer, who recently returned from the IPL to assess discomfort in his elbow, was not considered after the recurrence of a stress fracture that has ruled him out for the summer.
Bairstow last played international cricket in September, before suffering a fractured leg in a freak accident while playing golf. He missed all of England’s winter programme and only recently returned to action in the County Championship for Yorkshire but now looks set to take the gloves during the Ashes, which begins on June 16.
Rob Key, England managing director of men’s cricket, said leaving out Foakes was “a seriously tough decision”, after the Surrey keeper had established himself as first-choice under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, during the team’s run of 10 wins in 12 Tests. Bairstow last kept in a Test in 2021, standing in for Jos Buttler, and has not been the regular gloveman since the end of the 2019 Ashes.
“We are looking forward to the summer ahead and getting into the swing of things, starting with a good Test against Ireland,” Key said. “It was a seriously tough decision to leave Ben Foakes out of the squad. He has been excellent for England in the last year, but Jonny Bairstow is one of the best players in the world whose performances last summer epitomised what we are about.”
“I would like to wish the players every success, especially those returning after some time away.”
The rest of the squad was largely as expected, with Anderson named among six fast-bowling options alongside the spinner, Jack Leach. Chris Woakes, whose last Test came on the tour to the West Indies in 2022, returns, as does Mark Wood after he was rested for the New Zealand series earlier this year.
Matt Potts is also in contention for a spot alongside the frontline pair of Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson if Anderson is not fit.
Among those Test players involved at the IPL, Ben Stokes, England’s captain, had previously indicated he would return in time to face Ireland – he is expected back next week after the conclusion of the group stage – while Joe Root, whose Rajasthan Royals team could still reach the knockouts, and Harry Brook, recently dropped by Sunrisers Hyderabad, are both set to play at Lord’s.
Zak Crawley’s place at opener remains secure, after he began the summer with 350 runs in nine innings for Kent, while Essex’s Dan Lawrence continues as the spare batter in the group.
England men’s Test Squad: Ben Stokes (capt), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Matthew Potts, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.