Chris Woakes back in contention, Jos Buttler to miss Oval Test

Chris Woakes back in contention, Jos Buttler to miss Oval Test

Chris Woakes back in contention, Jos Buttler to miss Oval Test
Chris Woakes appeals for the wicket of Fawad Alam © Getty Images

England have recalled Chris Woakes to the Test squad to face India at The Oval, but Jos Buttler will miss the match due to the expected arrival of his second child. Sam Billings has been called up a wicketkeeper cover, with Jonny Bairstow set to take the gloves.

Woakes was named PCA men’s Player of the Year for his performances with England in 2020 but has not played a Test since last August. He missed out on selection for the first three Tests against India after suffering a heel injury when falling down some stairs.

Mark Wood will continue to be monitored after jarring his shoulder during the second Test. Saqib Mahmood has been released to Lancashire and will be available for Lancashire’s against Warwickshire County Championship match starting on Monday.

Buttler’s absence could open up a return for Ollie Pope in the middle order, with Bairstow set to keep wicket for the first time since the 2019 Ashes. Billings will remain with Kent, who play Leicestershire in the County Championship, before joining up with England on Thursday.

Chris Woakes back in contention, Jos Buttler to miss Oval Test
© ESPNcricinfo Ltd

“After the victory at Emerald Headingley, the Test series is beautifully poised against a strong India side going into the next Test at the Kia Oval,” England’s head coach, Chris Silverwood, said.

“It is very pleasing that we have Chris Woakes returning to the Test squad. He has bowled well over the past week with Warwickshire without any real concerns with his heel injury. He is an asset we have been missing both with the ball and his ability to score runs in the middle order. We are looking forward to seeing him prepare at the Oval as we go into back-to-back Tests.

“Mark Wood is making excellent recovery from his jarred right shoulder. He bowled in the middle on the last day at Headingley with our bowling coach Jon Lewis and was starting to get through his spells pain-free. For the first time in this series, it is pleasing to have several options with our bowling stocks as we approach the latter stages of the series.

“We would like to wish Jos and his family all the very best for the impending birth of their second child. Unfortunately, he will miss this Test, and we’ll then see if he returns for the final Test at Emirates Old Trafford.

“Jonny Bairstow will take over wicketkeeping duties, which he is relishing. As we all know, he has the skills to seamlessly take over from Jos and the ability to score crucial runs in the middle-order if called upon.

“Sam Billings, who was in the Test squad for the New Zealand series earlier this summer, returns as reserve keeper. He understands how we want to approach our cricket and is a popular member of the group. He will fit in well with the rest of the group.”

England squad for fourth Test against India: Joe Root (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Rory Burns, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood

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