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Ben Stokes and Mark Wood return to England one-day squad

August 16, 2016

England have recalled the Durham pair Ben Stokes and Mark Wood to their squad for the upcoming one-day internationals against Pakistan.

Stokes is fit again after injuring his calf while bowling in the Old Trafford Test match, while fast bowler Wood, a member of the Ashes-winning squad last year, returns following a successful comeback from ankle trouble with his county.

The pair will be joined by Jos Buttler and skipper Eoin Morgan, who are also fit again after injury. Hampshire's James Vince, who played in the series against Sri Lanka, has been dropped following a poor run of scores in the Test series against Pakistan. However, his Hampshire team-mate Liam Dawson has been picked.

Off-spinner Dawson made a big impact on his international Twenty20 debut against Sri Lanka and will hope he can make an impact in both the 50-over games and the T20 against Pakistan at Old Trafford next month.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for the Natwest T20 Blast finals day at Edgbaston this Saturday (August 20th) may see other players in action who could force their way into the T20 squad with a good performance in the showpiece occasion.

However, the bulk of the T20 side is set to comprise those playing in the one-day games, where England will hope to bounce back after Pakistan's ten-wicket win at the Kia Oval led to the Test series being drawn 2-2.

That result ended England's hopes of going to the top of the ICC Test rankings, and prompted skipper Alastair Cook to acknowledge that the team has much to do to reach the point where it needs to be.

"We're still the same side who beat Australia and won away in South Africa, so it's not all doom and gloom, but we're a work in progress," he observed.

The lack of runs from England's specialist batsmen - apart from Cook himself and Joe Root - is a key area of concern, but he also noted the number of dropped catches was a concern, not least in the final Test.

He remarked: "The catching is a concern: when we've won games we've caught our catches; when we've lost we've dropped our catches."

With Wood and Stokes back to boost the pace bowling, the seam attack will continue to be effective, but the lack of spin options is another issue with a winter on the slow turning surfaces of Bangladesh and India in prospect. Moeen Ali remains a part-time spinner thrust into a frontline role, while legspinner Adil Rashid has averaged 33 with the ball for Yorkshire in this summer's Specsavers County Championship.

The batting line-up also provides plenty of question marks, with Alex Hales yet to make a century in 11 Tests as an opener, Gary Ballance cap up producing modest returns after his recall, and James Vince failing to reach 50 in seven Tests. During the final Test, former England batsmen Geoffrey Boycott and Michael Vaughan both said they believe his brief Test career is now at an end.

England coach Trevor Bayliss admitted there will be "tough decisions to make" about the touring party, suggesting there are few players in county cricket offering compelling cases for selection.

Lancashire's young opener Haseeb Hameed might be one wildcard candidate, after making centuries in both innings of the Roses match against county champions Yorkshire.

By Keith Prowse

 

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