Buttler and Bess named in England Test squad
|England v Pakistan, first Test|
|Date: 24-28 May Time: 11:00 BST Venue: Lord’s|
|Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW and the BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app. Full tour details|
England have recalled batsman Jos Buttler and called up uncapped off-spinner Dom Bess for the first Test against Pakistan starting next week.
Lancashire’s Buttler, 27, has not played first-class cricket this season but has made five successive fifties in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Bess, 20, replaces Somerset team-mate and left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who broke a thumb on Monday.
James Vince, who batted at three for England over the winter, misses out.
The first Test at Lord’s starts on 24 May and the second at Headingley on 1 June.
The squad is Ed Smith’s first since replacing James Whitaker as national selector in April.
Wicketkeeper Buttler, who has played 18 Tests for England, the most recent in December 2016, will play as a specialist batsman at seven.
He averaged 17.16 in four first-class appearances for Lancashire last season, but has scored 548 runs at an average of 54.80 in 13 IPL matches for Rajasthan Royals this year.
Bess, who has taken only one wicket for Somerset this season, has 63 at 22.49 apiece in 16 first-class matches.
England squad for first Test
Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (capt), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Dominic Bess.
Buttler, who played three Tests on the tour of India in 2016, is regarded as one of the world’s best limited-overs batsmen.
He has scored 67, 51, 82, 95 not out, 94 not out and 39 since being promoted to open by Rajasthan.
Former England batsman Smith said it was “the perfect moment” to reintroduce Buttler to Test cricket, adding: “He will bring unique qualities to the Test team.”
Opener Mark Stoneman retains his place, although he has not reached 30 in seven County Championship innings for Surrey this season.
Captain Joe Root will bat at three rather than his favoured position of four; Dawid Malan, who came in at five during the winter series defeats in Australia and New Zealand; will move up to four; wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow has been promoted to five; and all-rounder Ben Stokes will bat at six.
Buttler, Stokes and seamer Chris Woakes have not played county cricket this season because of IPL commitments, while pace bowler Mark Wood took 6-46 in his only game for Durham after returning home early from the IPL.
Bess, who claimed 6-21 on his County Championship debut in 2016, took 36 wickets at 23.41 apiece last summer.
He scored a century for MCC against Essex in March and made 92 batting at number 10 for Somerset against Hampshire last week.
“With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler,” said Smith.
“Dom’s strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case for selection.”
Who misses out?
Vince is the most notable omission – he made an unbeaten 201 for Hampshire on Monday, but averages 24.90 in 13 Tests, including 76 in his most recent innings against New Zealand in March.
Surrey batsman Ollie Pope, who averages 85 for Surrey this season, Lancashire opener Keaton Jennings, Worcestershire’s Joe Clarke and Somerset’s James Hildreth, all of whom have made two centuries this season, were overlooked.
Nick Gubbins was not selected despite scoring a hundred and 99 in two matches for Middlesex since returning from injury.
There was no place for the leading two bowlers in Division One, Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball and Yorkshire’s Ben Coad.
Off-spinning all-rounder Moeen Ali, who has played 50 Tests but was dropped for Leach for the second Test in New Zealand, was also left out of the 12-man squad.