The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Wednesday named an unchanged 14-man squad for the Test series opener against Pakistan that begins from August 5 onwards at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground in Manchester.
The hosts will take on Azhar Ali's side in a bio-secure environment behind closed doors in Manchester before facing them in the next two matches at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.
The selection implies that Joe Root will continue to ponder upon his pace attack from the options available in Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran, Mark Wood and James Anderson in a way that he does not overuse any of them.
Meanwhile, Jos Buttler has managed to retain his place, courtesy that patient 67 he scored in the final Test against West Indies. Ben Foakes will continue to wait for his next opportunity as he has been named a reserve. Spinner Jack Leach joins him as well in the reserve bench as the selectors have once again picked Dominic Bess as the primary spin option.
Selector Ed Smith said: “After three Tests in quick succession against the West Indies, we now turn to an equally condensed Test series against Pakistan, with 15 days of Test cricket scheduled in a three-week period.
“County cricket now restarts on Saturday August 1. We want to have sufficient reserves inside the biosecure Test match ‘bubble’, but we may also want to give opportunities, where possible, for the reserves to play county cricket. As we seek the best balance here, England may make changes to the reserves during the three-match series against Pakistan.”
The squad will meet at the Old Trafford on Sunday to begin their preparation for the Pakistan series.
England Test squad:
Joe Root (Yorkshire) Captain, James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Dominic Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).
James Bracey (Gloucestershire), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Jack Leach (Somerset), Dan Lawrence (Essex).