LONDON, (Reuters) – Uncapped trio Sam Robson, Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali have been named in the England squad for the first test against Sri Lanka, starting at Lord’s next Thursday.
Australia-born opener Robson has yet to represent England at senior international level but has played for the Lions development team, while pace bowler Jordan and all-rounder Ali have played limited-overs cricket.
Yorkshire paceman Liam Plunkett has been included, seven years after playing the last of his nine tests for England against the West Indies, while wicketkeeper Matt Prior returns after being dropped during the last Ashes series against Australia and struggling with an Achilles injury.
“We would also like to acknowledge the contribution of both the County and England Performance Programme coaches in helping to develop the talents of Sam Robson, Liam Plunkett, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes,” national selector James Whitaker said in a statement.
“All four have carried their exciting winter form into the domestic season to earn well deserved recognition.
“We believe that this group of emerging talent will be very well complimented by the established core of experienced players that have been selected.”
The squad is the first named under new coach Peter Moores, who succeeded Andy Flower after the Zimbabwean stepped down after five years in charge following the 5-0 whitewash Down Under in January, and the ending of controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen’s international career.
All-rounder Ben Stokes, who impressed during England’s dismal Ashes trip, misses out, having recently returned after injuring his wrist hitting a dressing room locker, while Prior gets the nod at wicketkeeper, despite a recent clamour for Jos Buttler to be elevated to the test line-up. “Ben Stokes is very much part of England’s future,” Whitaker told the BBC.
“Just at the moment we would like to see a few more overs under his belt, but he will be back soon. “Our number one priority is someone being 100 percent fit and we’re confident Matt is. We believe he can be part of that core group of players that can drive the team forward over the next three or four years. “Very few people go through their careers without a blip but he is just the sort of character we want in that team.” Robson, 24, is likely to partner captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order, having scored three centuries for the Lions in Sri Lanka earlier this year
Jordan has been rewarded for some impressive performances in the one-day international series against Sri Lanka, which the visitors won 3-2, while Ali, who scored 162 in his last innings for Worcestershire, can bat in the middle-order and offers a slow-bowling option.
The two-test series concludes at Headingley.
Alastair Cook (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Matt Prior, Sam Robson, Joe Root, Chris Woakes