Ex-NSW spinner wins England Test call-up

Ross Houston
August 11, 2017

England may have another two new faces in their side to face West Indies in the first day-night Test staged in this country after Mark Stoneman and Mason Crane were on Thursday named in the 13-man squad for Edgbaston.

The three-match campaign against the West Indies, which also features fixtures at Headingley and Lord´s, is England´s last Test series before they travel to Australia.

"It's been a long road, a few ups and downs, but to get that call was quite the release of emotion and something I am very proud of".

Durham's Jennings, 25, is dropped after averaging 15.88 in the 3-1 series victory over South Africa, having passed 50 only once since hitting a century on his debut in India. "The experiences I have had now, against the top bowlers in Division One and overseas bowlers will stand me in good stead".

National selector James Whitaker said he hoped Jennings will return to his county and "recapture the form" which made him the leading run-scorer in the 2016 County Championship. I am sure he will find his confidence and look to score runs in the remaining matches of this season.

He has taken only 16 wickets in Championship cricket this term but a lot of first-class cricket is played at the start of the year and the end of the year, so it is very hard for a young spinner in England.

Crane, on the other hand, will replace his county team-mate Liam Dawson and now he holds a great chance to seal a possible Ashes wildcard after playing grade cricket in Australia last season and earning a call-up to the New South Wales team in the Sheffield Shield.

I see a lot of England's batsmen and many look very manufactured, stiff, stilted and coached, but when I've seen Stoneman he looks a more natural player than many England have picked in recent times - he looks fluent and will be an attractive player to watch if he gets going.

Clearly England have moved on from Adil Rashid in red-ball cricket for whatever reason - he took 30 wickets in India and Bangladesh over the winter, so I have some sympathy for him.

Also returning to the squad is all-rounder Chris Woakes, who has recovered from the side strain and now will take the place of Steven Finn, who failed to get a single game in the four match series against Faf du Plessis' men. It has very much felt like it has come quickly.

J Root (captain), M Ali, J Anderson, J Bairstow, S Broad, A Cook, M Crane, D Malan, T Roland-Jones, B Stokes, M Stoneman, T Westley, C Woakes.

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