Matthew Fisher earns a call-up with Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root in a 16-strong England squad for the three-match Test tour of the Caribbean starting next month.
England Men’s Test squad
Joe Root (Yorkshire) captain
Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire)
Zak Crawley (Kent)
Matthew Fisher (Yorkshire)
Ben Foakes (Surrey)
Dan Lawrence (Essex)
Jack Leach (Somerset)
Alex Lees (Durham)
Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire)
Craig Overton (Somerset)
Matthew Parkinson (Lancashire)
Ollie Pope (Surrey)
Ollie Robinson (Sussex)
Ben Stokes (Durham)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
Mark Wood (Durham)
Durham opener Alex Lees and Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher are called-up for the first time.
Lees, 28, captained the Lions squad in Australia and has shown great potential in the LV= Insurance County Championship over the past few years with Durham and previously Yorkshire. He scored 625 runs in last year’s Championship campaign, with a highest score of 129.
The 24-year-old Fisher took 20 wickets for Yorkshire last season at an average of 19.65 from County Championship matches. His control with the ball has impressed the England set-up for some time, and he was a stand-out performer for the Lions during the winter programme.
Alongside the new additions to the squad, the Lancashire duo of Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Parkinson will be aiming to make their Test debut in the Caribbean having featured in previous squads.
Surrey wicketkeeper Ben Foakes returns to the squad for the first time in under a year when he played the fourth Test in Ahmedabad last March against India.
Eight players – James Anderson, Dom Bess, Sam Billings, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan – who featured in the recent Ashes series, have missed out on selection.
Interim Managing Director for England Men’s Cricket, Sir Andrew Strauss, said:
“With the start of a new cycle, it has allowed the selection panel to refresh the Test squad with a particular focus on competing away from home.
“We felt that it was time to draw a line after the Ashes defeat, look forward and give some impetus with an influx of new players.
“In respect of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, I want to emphasise this does not mean the end for them as England players. We feel that it is important to look at some exciting new bowling potential and give some added responsibility to other players who have featured previously. No one doubts the quality and experience that James and Stuart bring to the England set-up. It will be up to the new managing director and permanent head coach to decide on whether they will be involved this summer and beyond.
“This selection of this squad is the start of a process and a journey to get England Test cricket back to where it needs to be, and the hard work starts now.”
The three-match Test series forms part of the ICC World Test Championship. Joe Root’s team will be looking to climb the rankings after a disappointing start to the second edition of the Championship. At the end of the two-year cycle, the top two teams will compete in the ICC World Test Championship Final due to be staged in 2023.
The touring party departs the UK on Thursday 24 February.