England Fast bowlers James Anderson and Mark Wood have been rested for the second Test against the West Indies starting later today. It has been understood that Anderson has not recovered from a sore body after bowling 40 Overs in the first Test, and the England camp do not want to take any risk with Mark Wood, given his history of suffering from niggles. Surrey all rounder Sam Curran and Sussex rookie quick Ollie Robinson have been included in the 13 man squad which was announced yesterday.
With the return of regular England captain Joe Root in the side, and after Zak Crawley’s determined knock in the 2nd innings of the first Test in Southampton, the axe has fallen on top order batsman Joe Denly, whose scores of 18 and 29 did not help his case either. Out of the 28 innings he has played, he has reached double figures 24 times, but has failed to convert that into something substantial, reaching individual scores of 50 or more on 6 occasions, his highest being 94.
Even though this might be a sign of the end of the Kent batsman’s Test career, Joe Root, at the pre match press conference, said, “Over a period of time Joe has done a brilliant job for us. He has helped show the identity of our side, how we want to play moving forward. He has laid the platform for guys behind to go on and make big scores. I think he’ll be just as frustrated as anyone that he’s not managed to quite convert those opportunities,” Root added. “But certainly the door’s not closed. He’s been a big part of our squad for some time now. He gets if he gets an opportunity to come back again, then I’m sure he’ll be desperate to take it.”
Root acknowledged Crawley’s progress since his debut. He said, “You watch Zak’s progression since he’s been involved in the team, his game has continued to get stronger.”
Anderson ‘s omission would mean Stuart Broad is bound to make a return to the playing XI. The pair have played alongside one another for 116 Tests since Broad’s debut in 2007, claiming 883 wickets in tandem out of a combined total of 1072. But as both Anderson and Broad approach the twilight of their careers, Root conceded that their opportunities to extend that joint record could be limited in the coming months. He said, “With Stuart and Jimmy, trying to maximise their careers is really important to make sure they are playing for as long as possible. If that has to be slightly different to how it has been over the last few years, then we might have to think outside the box and not play them in every game or not play them together all the time.”
“That is not to say it won’t happen again. They are two world-class performers and we are very, very lucky to have them. I think to wish that away early or to push them to one side would be stupid, I really do. I think we’ve got to deal with it well and be smart with it and we will find opportunities to play other guys, too,” he added reassuringly.
England’s preparations were hampered by rain in Manchester that forced the team to train indoors, and by a lively practice wicket on Tuesday that restricted their opportunities to assess the form and fitness of their quicks, and Root conceded there had been “a few areas to shore up” before any final decisions could be made. He said, “We’ll have to have another look at the wicket, and there’s a few things we have to clear up in-house, making sure everyone pulls up as we would like, and being really clear on what’s the best thing for the team over these five days.”