England has called in Chris Woakes in the squad for the fourth test at The Oval beginning from September 2nd. Also, another change is that Kent wicket-keeper Sam Billings will replace Jos Butler since Butler is expecting his second child. So, he won’t be available for the 4th test.
Woakes, England’s player of the year in 2020, has not played Test cricket for more than 12 months because of a combination of the ECB’s rest and rotation policy. Also, Woakes suffered a heel injury which ruled him out of the first three tests. He is fully fit now, however, and played for Warwickshire’s 2nd XI last week as well as in their T20 Blast quarter-final on Friday evening.
Head Coach Chris Silverwood Speaks
“It is very pleasing that we have Chris Woakes returning to the Test squad,” head coach Chris Silverwood said. “He has bowled well over the past week with Warwickshire without any real concerns with his heel injury. He is an asset we have been missing both with the ball and his ability to score runs in the middle order. We are looking forward to seeing him prepare at the Oval as we go into back-to-back Tests.”
Silverwood made it clear that Jonny Bairstow will keep wickets in Jos Butler’s absence. However, they have added Sam Billings to the squad as a backup in case of any illness or injury issue. Billings is yet to make his test debut. It is not yet known whether Buttler will return to the squad for the final Test at Emirates Old Trafford which begins on Friday 10th September.
“We would like to wish Jos and his family all the very best for the impending birth of their second child,” Silverwood said. “Unfortunately, he will miss this Test, and we’ll then see if he returns for the final Test. Jonny Bairstow will take over wicketkeeping duties, which he is relishing. As we all know, he has the skills to seamlessly take over from Jos and the ability to score crucial runs in the middle-order if called upon.”
Since Billings is unlikely to play at The Oval, he will join up with England’s squad on Thursday after Kent’s County Championship match against Leicestershire. Buttler’s absence means either Ollie Pope or Dan Lawrence, who will play the first two days of Essex’s Championship match against Glamorgan, will come into the middle order.
“Mark Wood is making an excellent recovery from his jarred right shoulder,” Silverwood said. “He bowled in the middle on the last day at Headingley with our bowling coach Jon Lewis and was starting to get through his spells pain-free. For the first time in this series, it is pleasing to have several options with our bowling stocks as we approach the latter stages of the series.“