England announce rejigged squad as Root returns from paternity leave
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Old Trafford
Joe Denly’s Test career would appear to be over after he was omitted from England’s squad for the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford, while James Anderson has been rested on his home ground alongside Mark Wood, in a rejig of their fast-bowling attack given the short turnaround between contests.
Root missed England’s four-wicket defeat in the first Test at the Ageas Bowl, but returns to the fray as captain after attending the birth of his second child, as his team seeks a means to avoid their first home series defeat against West Indies since 1988.
England did not confirm their final 13-man squad until late on Wednesday aftenoon, with Anderson understood to be sore after bowling 40 overs in his first match back after injury, and Wood also being monitored given his history of niggles. Sam Curran has been added to the squad, alongside the Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson, for whom this represents a first call-up to England’s senior squad.
England’s preparations were hampered by rain in Manchester that forced the team to train indoors, and by a lively practice wicket on Tuesday that restricted their opportunities to assess the form and fitness of their quicks, and Root conceded there had been “a few areas to shore up” before any final decisions could be made.
“We’ll have to have another look at the wicket, and there’s a few things we have to clear up in-house,” Root said in England’s pre-match press conference, prior to the squad announcement, “making sure everyone pulls up as we would like, and being really clear on what’s the best thing for the team over these five days.
Anderson, who turns 38 at the end of the month, needs another 13 wickets to become the first seamer to reach 600 Test wickets. He was the pick of England’s seamers in the first innings at the Ageas Bowl, claiming 3 for 62 in 25 overs, but went wicketless second time around as West Indies sealed victory on the final day.
Anderson’s omission for the first of two back-to-back games at his home ground means that he will have missed 10 of England’s last 14 Tests in the last 12 months, dating back to Ireland’s visit to Lord’s last July.
Only once in that period has he attempted back-to-back games, the second Test against South Africa at Cape Town, where he broke down in the second innings after claiming 5 for 40 in the first.
The situation means a probable recall for Stuart Broad, who expressed his displeasure at being overlooked for the first Test despite having been England’s stand-out seamer in both last summer’s Ashes series and the winter tour of South Africa where he claimed 14 wickets at 19.42 in the 3-1 series win. Chris Woakes could also make his first appearance of the summer, with all 22 of England’s players obliged to remain within the team environment due to the bio-secure arrangements for the series.