England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Wednesday named a 30-man training squad who will be preparing behind closed doors to gear up for the three-match Test series against West Indies next month. And the most notable inclusion has been the return of Moeen Ali who did not make it to any of the last three Test squads that ECB announced. Meanwhile, Dan Lawrence from Essex, has been given the opportunity to prove his worth.
Mo Bobat, the ECB performance director, said: "The support that we've received from counties during our return to training phase so far has been excellent, and it's great to be able to continue with this collaborative approach as we move into a 'Behind Closed Doors' training environment.
The 30-man list comprises of Test regulars and players who impressed the selectors following their performances in the Lions tour in Australia last winter. The squad will arrive at the Ageas Bowl on June 23 and remaining at the venue for the next two weeks where they will practice behind closed doors and have an intra-squad three-day match practice starting July 1 after which the final Test squad for the Windies series will be announced.
Moeen last played for in the Ashes opener at Edgbaston where he scored 0 and 4 and finished with figures of 3 for 172 after which he was dropped. While the selectors and the captain looked to included the all-rounder, Moeen made himself unavailable for the Test series in New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka. But in April, he had expressed his keen interest to return back to the format.
Another notable inclusion has been Jonny Bairstow, who only on Tuesday expressed his desire to be back in the wicketkeeping position in England's Test squad. But he will be facing stiff competition from incumbent Jos Buttler and Surrey's wicket-keeper Ben Foakes
"As is the case in the current climate, things have progressed quickly, and we are very grateful to counties for allowing us to second their coaches to support our Test preparation. The larger group of players will certainly keep them busy.
"Involving Glen Chapple, Richard Dawson and Matt Walker adds significant leadership strength to our coaching team, as well as their obvious technical and tactical knowledge. Similarly, Chris Read's vast experience at the highest level will no doubt add value.
"Both Glen (Chapple) and Richard (Dawson) were involved in winter Lions activity, so it's nice for them and the players to build on effective coaching relationships and it's also a real positive for our domestic game that we can expose a greater number of our coaches to international cricket."
Ed Smith, England's national selector, added: "Everyone involved with England is delighted that cricket is returning soon, and that the players are reporting for group training in preparation for the Test series against the West Indies."
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire), Dominic Bess (Somerset), James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Lewis Gregory (Somerset), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Dan Lawrence (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Jamie Overton (Somerset), Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Ollie Robinson (Sussex), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Amar Virdi (Surrey), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).