England spearhead James Anderson has been ruled out of the first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s due to an ongoing shoulder injury, while batsman Gary Ballance and paceman Toby Roland-Jones have earned surprised call ups.
Anderson, who claimed the mantle as the world's No.1 Test bowler last month, had been fighting a battle against time to be fit for the opening match of the four-Test series after aggravating stress fractures in his bowling shoulder in the third Test against Sri Lanka.
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Allrounder Ben Stokes is also absent from the list after undergoing knee surgery in late May. Stokes has returned to action for Durham but has not bowled for his county since returning. He posted a half-century against Hampshire earlier this week.
In-form batsman Scott Borthwick and ODI wicketkeeper Jos Buttler had been tipped as frontrunners for inclusion after their outstanding recent form, but England and Wales Cricket Board selectors have instead opted for Ballance who earned a recall after scoring a century for Yorkshire in their County Championship loss to Middlesex this week.
— County Championship (@CountyChamp) July 7, 2016
Ballance last played for England in the second Test against Australia at Lord’s last July and has been averaging 33.64 for Yorkshire in the four-day Championship this year.
He replaces embattled batsman Nick Compton, who announced last month he was taking a break from cricket after a disappointing series against Sri Lanka. Ballance is set to slot into the middle-order, with captain Alastair Cook confirming star batsman Joe Root will be promoted to No.3.
Gary Balance and Toby Roland-Jones named in England's squad. Joe Root will bat at number 3.
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) July 7, 2016
Fast bowler Jake Ball is in line for his Test debut, having been named in the England Test squad for the first time during the Test series against Sri Lanka, and he will be battling for Anderson's spot alongside Middlesex seamer Roland-Jones, who has been called up to the squad for the first time.
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Roland-Jones, a 28-year-old England A player, has been in tremendous form for his county this season, taking 30 wickets in nine matches at 29.07.
He was in fine form with both bat and ball against Yorkshire this week, posting an unbeaten 79 and taking 3-88 and 3-34.
"With an injury to James Anderson, there is an opportunity for Toby Rowland-Jones who has been a consistent performer in the County Championship over the last few years and deserves his chance," ECB National Selector James Whitaker said.
"Gary Ballance is recalled to the Test squad for the first time since the winter series in South Africa and could play his first Test for England in 12 months.
"He has been in recent form with the bat for Yorkshire in the Championship. Gary is mentally strong and we feel that he will add quality and experience to England’s middle-order.
"Pakistan will give us a stiff challenge during this series and we can expect some fantastic cricket from both sides over the next couple of months."
The England squad will meet up on Monday, July 11 in London, ahead of the start of the first Test on July 14.
England squad: Alastair Cook, Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Toby Roland-Jones, James Vince, Chris Woakes
Pakistan squad: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Shan Masood, Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan