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England may have a different national selector but the preference for a spinner who can also bat remains, as Somerset’s Dom Bess was picked by Ed Smith for the Test series against Pakistan.
In Smith’s first squad announcement since taking over national selector duties from James Whitaker, Bess gets the nod ahead of his Somerset team-mate Jack Leach who misses out on contention due to a broken finger.
With a batting average in first-class cricket of 25.38, the 20-year-old was praised by Smith for the ability he has shown so early in his career at Taunton and with England Lions.
“Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career,” Smith said.
“He has impressed everyone with his performances for Somerset and when he has been given opportunities with England representative teams.
“With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler. Dom’s strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case for selection.
Elsewhere in the 12-man squad, Jos Buttler’s form in the IPL dispels any reservations the selection panel may have about his lack of red-ball cricket over the past 18 months.
Knocks of 67, 51, 82, 95* and 94* in his last three innings for Rajasthan Royals has earned the wicketkeeper a possible shot at a first Test cap since December 2016.
Smith noted that it was not only the Lancashire player’s IPL form but his part in taking the ODI side to top of the ICC rankings after a momentous 12 months for Eoin Morgan’s team.
“Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England’s white-ball teams,” Smith commented.
“The selection panel feels that this is the perfect moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket, where he has already enjoyed some success, including a stint playing as a specialist batsman at number seven.
“Jos is playing with great confidence and flair, and he will bring unique qualities to the Test team.”
James Vince’s mammoth 201* for Hampshire last week was not enough to keep him in selectors’ thoughts, as England look likely to go with a top three line-up of Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan.
England: Alastair Cook, Mark Stoneman, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (Capt), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Dom Bess.