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England omits Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali from the 22-man list ahead of the first Test West Indies test

England omits Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali from the 22-man group for next week’s first test against the West Indies – and final 11 will be chosen on Wednesday

  • Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali are not among the 22 players from England for the first test
  • The large group has been named prior to next week’s Test against the West Indies
  • The 22 are divided into two groups – a first choice squad of 13 and nine reserves
  • Of the 13 players, the last 11 Wednesday will be chosen in the Ageas Bowl

England have not found a place for Jonny Bairstow or Moeen Ali among the 22 players named for next week’s first test against the West Indies.

Instead, the spinner’s role has been entrusted to Somerset’s 22-year-old Dom Bess, who made an impression earlier this year during England’s 3-1 win over South Africa. And, in a further blow to Bairstow’s hopes of regaining his Test Place, Ben Foakes has been named the second choice wicket-keeper behind Vice Captain Jos Buttler.

The 22 are divided into two groups: a first-choice team of 13, the last 11 of which will be chosen Wednesday morning at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. And a reserve group of nine, mentioned in case someone tests positive for Covid-19.

England has not found a place for Jonny Bairstow (photo) or Moeen Ali in their 22-piece group

England has not found a place for Jonny Bairstow (photo) or Moeen Ali in their 22-piece group

Dom Bess is charged with the role of the spinner prior to the first test against the West Indies

Dom Bess is charged with the role of the spinner prior to the first test against the West Indies

Dom Bess is charged with the role of the spinner prior to the first test against the West Indies

ENGLAND 13-MAN TEST SUIT

Ben Stokes (Durham) Captain

James Anderson (Lancashire)

Jofra Archer (Sussex)

Dominic Bess (Somerset)

Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Rory Burns (Surrey)

Jos Buttler (Lancashire)

Zak Crawley (Kent)

Joe Denly (Kent)

Ollie Pope (Surrey)

Dom Sibley (Warwickshire)

Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

Mark Wood (Durham)

The group of nine feels like a glimpse of the future as England plans to assemble a team capable of regaining the Ashes in 2021-22 and forging a new era under coach Chris Silverwood.

Four of the group are yet to win a Testcap: James Bracey of Gloucestershire, who made a compact 85 this week at England’s friendly game in Southampton; highly rated Dan Lawrence of Essex, who scored 58; Sussex sailor Ollie Robinson, who produced first inning figures from 9-4-7-2; and Saqib Mahmood, who first tasted international cricket during the English T20 series in New Zealand late last year.

From first choice 13, the biggest challenge for stand-in captain Ben Stokes will be how to squeeze six bowlers into four. And if management decides that Bess should play to give Stokes a spin option, then only three of James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes will make the cut.

They all had their moments in Southampton, although it seems inconceivable that England will enter the field without their long-standing opening pair Anderson and Broad, who have 1,069 test tickets among themselves. Anderson is 16 less than 600 and Broad 15 less than 500.

However, voters may be relaxed about the possibility of omitting Wood, whose fitness record suggests he is unlikely to play in all six tests this summer anyway.

Captain Ben Stokes' biggest challenge is how to squeeze six bowlers into four

Captain Ben Stokes' biggest challenge is how to squeeze six bowlers into four

Captain Ben Stokes’ biggest challenge is how to squeeze six bowlers into four

The top seven seems to select itself, even if Captain Joe Rot’s return for the second test after paternity leave could turn Wednesday’s game into a shootout between Joe Denly and Zak Crawley.

Surrey all-rounder Sam Curran, who tested negative for Covid-19 on Friday after an attack of vomiting and diarrhea, is part of the reserve group of nine, along with Somerset’s slow left-wing poorer Jack Leach.

His recording effectively relegates Ali to the third choice spinner.

ENGLAND TEST RESERVES

James Bracey (Gloucestershire)

Sam Curran (Surrey)

Ben Foakes (Surrey)

Dan Lawrence (Essex)

Jack Leach (Somerset)

Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire)

Craig Overton (Somerset)

Ollie Robinson (Sussex)

Olly Stone (Warwickshire)

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