England name 13-man squad for first Test against West Indies

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England national selectors have announced a 13 man squad for the first Test match against the West Indies scheduled to take place at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, Hampshire starting from July 8. Nine players have been enlisted as standbys as well. In the absence of captain Joe Root, who is set to miss the first Test to be with his wife Carrie for the birth of their second child, all rounder Ben Stokes will lead the side, with Jos Buttler being his deputy. Stokes will become the 81st Cricketer to have captained England in Test match Cricket history. Root, who has returned to Sheffield to be at the birth of his second child, left the secure bubble in Southampton earlier this week.  He will self-isolate for seven days before joining up with the squad ahead of the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford starting on 16 July.

Earlier, this was what Stokes said about his election as England’s 81st Test captain, “Obviously getting the opportunity to captain England is a huge honour, even if it’s only the once you can still say ‘yeah, I’ve captained England’. So it’s a huge honour to think about, and something I’m really looking forward to if the opportunity presents itself, but also at the same time I know I’m only stepping in to take over the reins for the one game because of Joe’s personal situation.”

ALSO READ: Joe Root set to miss first Test, Ben Stokes to lead

Here is the squad:

Ben Stokes(c)
Jos Buttler(vc & wk)
James Anderson
Jofra Archer
Dom Bess
Stuart Broad
Rory Burns
Zak Crawley
Joe Denly
Ollie Pope
Dom Sibley
Chris Woakes
Mark Wood

The players enlisted in the reserves are the following:

James Bracey (Gloucestershire) (wk)
Sam Curran (Surrey)
Ben Foakes (Surrey) (wk)
Dan Lawrence (Essex)
Jack Leach (Somerset)
Saqib Mahmood (Lancashire)
Craig Overton (Somerset)
Ollie Robinson (Sussex)
Olly Stone (Warwickshire)

The England squad will be very much upbeat before the commencement of the game due to the high intensity training they underwent and the warm up match they played. The absence of the crowd would not be an issue for most players, as stated by middle order batsman Ollie Pope, who said that the team will be aiming to come up with different methods to create their own atmosphere on the field. The Chelsea born middle order batsman said, “When we have big crowds in and the Barmy Army are here it is amazing but we’ll still be playing Test cricket and it’s still the pinnacle,” Pope said. “Even if there’s not a single person in the crowd it’s still what we all dreamed of doing. There will still be the same nerves in the morning because so much rides on it. When that Test match starts up, crowd or no crowd, you are going to be really up for it. It has been quiet, especially at a ground like this where there is nothing going on outside the ground and no real noise out there, but that doesn’t change the quality of the cricket. Whether we are going to play a bit of music out of the speakers I’m not sure but we can find ways of creating our own atmosphere I’m sure. We’ve got to find a way to do that when we get on top or when we need a bit of energy.”