England pick Jofra Archer for first Ashes Test
England have selected Jofra Archer in a 14-man squad for the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston next week. Archer, who delivered the match-winning Super Over in the World Cup final, has not yet played Test cricket and could make his debut in Birmingham after recovering from a side injury.
Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler return to the squad after being rested for the victory against Ireland at Lord’s while Lewis Gregory and Jack Leach, man of the match against the Irish, have been left out. Stokes has also been reappointed to the Test vice-captaincy for the first time since the well-publicised incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September 2017.
Whether Archer makes a Test debut in Birmingham remains to be seen given he is still recovering from the left side injury which plagued him throughout the World Cup. He played for Sussex in the Vitality T20 Blast on Friday evening without any issue and England will continue to monitor him once the squad assembles in Birmingham on Monday.
A key consideration will be whether they think he can get through the required quantity of overs in a five-day match having last played a first-class game in September last year. The performance of Chris Woakes at Lord’s on the final day, when he picked up six Ireland wickets, may mean that England do not feel the need to rush Archer into the team and could opt to save him for later in the series.
Archer’s first-class record is excellent although he remains relatively inexperienced with the red-ball having played just 28 matches in all. In those games, he has taken 131 wickets at 23 and with a strike rate of a wicket every eight overs. England will hope his pace and aggression proves a useful point of difference against the Australian batting line-up.
England squad for first Ashes Test: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, Jimmy Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.