By Adam Ellis
Surrey batsman Mark Stoneman and Hampshire leg-spinner Mason Crane have been included in England’s squad for the first Test against the West Indies on 17 August.
Stoneman replaces Durham opener Keaton Jennings as Trevor Bayliss and England’s selectors show they are not afraid to make changes to the squad following the team’s 3-1 series victory over South Africa.
The inclusion of Stoneman continues England’s long-winded attempts to find a suitable opener to join Alastair Cook at the start of each England innings, as Jennings looked uncomfortable facing the Proteas attack.
The Johannesburg-born batsman managed to contribute just 127 runs in eight innings during the recent series, allowing Stoneman to be handed his chance.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, it’s amazing,” Stoneman told Surrey’s official website.
“It’s been a long road, a few ups and downs, but to get that call was quite the release of emotion and something I am very proud of.
“I’ve had a couple of phone calls before, when I missed out on selection, just to keep me informed of whereabouts I was, so I wondered if it was good or bad!
“I’ve had 10 years as a professional so I’d hope I have worked things out by now. The experiences I have had now, against the top bowlers in Division One and overseas bowlers will stand me in good stead.”
Elsewhere, leg-spin prodigy Mason Crane replaces Liam Dawson in the squad after impressing in the one-day format.
While Chris Woakes returns to the fold after missing out on the entire South Africa series with injury, the Warwickshire all-rounder replacing Steven Finn.