London: England selectors on Thursday sprang a surprise by recalling leg-spinner Adil Rashid to the 13-man squad for the first Test against India, starting August 1 in Birmingham.
Rashid, who last played a Test in December 2016, against the same opponents in Chennai has been in great form in white ball cricket this summer taking 20 wickets. He has been instrumental in England’s ODI series victories over Australia and India.
Commenting on Rashid’s surprise selection, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) national selector Ed Smith, said: “Clearly, the one-off circumstances around Adil’s return to the Test squad are unusual. However, the selection panel was unanimous in believing that Adil should be selected in England’s squad.”
“Before the selection meeting, Adil had confirmed his availability to play Test cricket for England for whole of this summer and the upcoming winter tours to Sri Lanka and the West Indies,” he added.
Besides Rashid, uncapped seamer Jamie Porter was the lone fresh face in the Joe Root-led squad, which also marks the return of all-rounder Moeen Ali for the first time since the tour of New Zealand.
The selection panel also confirmed that all-rounder Chris Woakes will require more time to regain his form after recovering from his recent thigh and knee injury.
“The selection panel felt that Chris Woakes needed a little more time to regain full form. We are keen to avoid rushing him back from injury too soon.”
“Chris will combine playing for Warwickshire in T20s alongside building up red ball fitness and workload with the England coaches,” Smith said.
Despite missing out, spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach will train with the squad at Edgbaston.
After the first match, the five-match rubber will move to the Lord’s for the second match from August 9-13, while Trent Bridge will host the third match from August 18-22.
The fourth and fifth matches will be played at Southampton (August 30-September 3) and The Oval (September 7-11).
England squad for first Test: Joe Root (Captain), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jonny Bairstow (WK), Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Alastair Cook, Sam Curran, Keaton Jennings, Dawid Malan, Jamie Porter, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes.