England announce 30-member training squad ahead of first Test
England have named a 30-member squad as a lead-up to the first Test against West Indies, which will begin on July 8. The players will live and later train behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl ahead of the three-match series. All-rounder Moeen Ali is a notable inclusion in the "behind-closed-doors training group". Meanwhile, the squad for the series opener will be announced shortly.
Moeen Ali back in Test frame
Mooen Ali's last Test appearance was in 2019, during The Ashes. He was dropped from the XI following the first Test at Edgbaston. The 32-year-old then opted out of England's tours of New Zealand and South Africa. He was not available for the Sri Lanka tour as well. In April this year, the all-rounder indicated that he is willing to make a Test return.
Eight uncapped players included in the squad
As many as eight uncapped players (Test cricket) have been included in the squad. The players are - James Bracey, Lewis Gregory, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Jamie Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Robinson and Amar Virdi.
Anderson, Archer set to return
The squad will be reduced to 20 players after a three-day warm-up match at the Ageas Bowl, starting July 1. However, the likes of James Anderson, Jofra Archer and Mark Wood shall be looking forward to the training camp for regaining fitness. The trio was omitted from the Sri Lanka tour, owing to injury. England's first-choice opener Rory Burns also makes a return.
Other players who made the cut
Fast bowler Craig Overton has been added in the squad alongside compatriots Saqib Mahmood, Olly Stone, and Ollie Robinson. Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory, who made his international debut earlier this year, is also in the mix. Besides, the wicket-keeping slot is up for grabs with Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, James Bracey and Ben Foakes already in line.
Here is England's 30-man training squad
Squad: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Dominic Bess, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, Lewis Gregory, Keaton Jennings, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Amar Virdi, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
The England squad will arrive at Ageas Bowl next week
The squad will gather at the Ageas Bowl on June 23, where they will they stay at the venue's on-site hotel. Notably, the practice sessions will be held under the guidance of coaches Chris Silverwood and Graham Thorpe. Meanwhile, the following two Tests will be played at the Emirates Old Trafford on July 16 and 24 respectively.