England v West Indies Tests - Men
England name eight uncapped players in Test group
England selectors name 30-player training group ahead of intra-squad match leading up to three-Test series against West Indies
18 June 2020, 09:08 AM AEST
Moeen Ali moved nearer to a first Test appearance in almost a year after England national selector Ed Smith confirmed his place in a 30-man training group for next month's series at home to the West Indies.
England included eight uncapped players in the training group that will meet in Southampton on June 23 and remain at Hampshire's headquarters as they prepare for an intra-squad match on July 1-3.
That will give players a chance to press their case for inclusion in the Test squad.
Among the uncapped players in the 30-man squad are Essex batsman Dan Lawrence, Gloucestershire wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey and Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson.
Saqib Mahmood, Lewis Gregory and Matt Parkinson have also yet to appear in Tests but have represented England in limited-overs cricket.
Rory Burns, Jofra Archer, James Anderson and Mark Wood were all selected even though they have been making their way back from injury.
"It is a great opportunity for that group of players to join up with an England training group and to rub shoulders with the best players in the country and the established players in the Test team," said Smith.
"For younger bowlers to bowl at the best batsmen and for younger batsmen to face the best bowlers, what a fantastic opportunity for them."
Off-spinning allrounder Moeen was dropped by England during the Ashes last year and then opted out of Test tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka, citing fatigue and saying he felt he had been made a scapegoat for England defeats, as he concentrated on white-ball international cricket.
But he will now be vying with spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach for a place in the side for the three-Test series against the West Indies.
The series, taking place behind closed doors, starts at Hampshire's Ageas Bowl on July 8 before concluding with back-to-back fixtures at Old Trafford.
With 181 wickets from 60 Tests, Moeen is a far more experienced bowler than spin rivals Bess and Leach and he was also England's leading wicket-taker when they lost 2-1 in the Caribbean last year.
"In a number of conversations over the winter, and also more recently, Moeen has indicated he wants to be considered for selection in all formats and he's available for selection," Smith said.
"That's good news."
"As a selector we always want the most amount of talent to pick from so we're pleased Moeen is available again.
"One thing I've always felt as a selector is that it's always good news if you increase the talent pool - whether that's Adil Rashid returning to Test cricket or Moeen Ali saying he's available for Test cricket again.
"Moeen is a valued member of the England set-up and across formats he's been a significant contributor."
England squad: Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire), Dominic Bess (Somerset), James Bracey* (Gloucestershire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Joe Denly (Kent), Ben Foakes (Surrey), Lewis Gregory* (Somerset), Keaton Jennings (Lancashire), Dan Lawrence* (Essex), Jack Leach (Somerset), Saqib Mahmood* (Lancashire), Craig Overton (Somerset), Jamie Overton* (Somerset), Matthew Parkinson* (Lancashire), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Ollie Robinson* (Sussex), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Olly Stone (Warwickshire), Amar Virdi* (Surrey), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham)
*Uncapped at Test level