England Cricket Board (ECB) have announced a 16-member squad for the upcoming sub-continent tour of Sri Lanka, where they will play two Test matches.
Lancashire seamer James Anderson, who is currently recovering from a cracked rib suffered in January during the second Test in Cape Town against South Africa, will miss out on the series.
Wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow has been rested, and injured pacer Jofra Archer has been left out, while off-spinner Moeen Ali was unavailable for the upcoming series.
ECB have recalled batsman Keaton Jennings and Surrey’s wicketkeeper Ben Foakes.
Foakes debuted against Sri Lanka in Galle in November 2018, where he scored a magnificent hundred. The right-handed batsman has represented England at Test level five times. Whereas Jennings, the left-handed batsman from Lancashire, has played 17 Tests for England, having scored two centuries and one fifty.
“The selection panel has supported continuity after a successful series victory in South Africa. The South Africa tour marked the emergence of a very exciting group of young players, creating a nice balance with an experienced core of senior players. That squad is mostly retained, with some tweaks to the squad relevant to injury, rest, and the challenges of playing in sub-continent conditions,” said National Selector ED Smith.
“Somerset spinner Jack Leach has recovered from his illness he picked up in South Africa and is now healthy and keen to resume his Test career. Jonny Bairstow has been in England squads across the three formats without a significant break. This two-Test tour presents a good opportunity for Jonny to be rested,” he added.
“Jimmy Anderson will continue to work with Lancashire and the ECB so that he is ready for the start of the County Championship season leading into the Test series against the West Indies in June. Moeen Ali is still unavailable for Test selection. The selectors are in consistent dialogue with Moeen, and he remains a valued player in England cricket,” Smith added further.
The first Test will take place in Galle (Mar 19-Mar 23), while the second game will be played in Colombo (Mar 27-Mar 31).
Here’s the England squad:
Joe Root (captain), Keaton Jennings, Joe Denly, Ben Stokes, Dom Bess, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Jack Leach, Jos Buttler, Dominic Sibley, Stuart Broad, Ben Foakes, Chris Woakes, Matthew Parkinson, Mark Wood.