Alex Hales and Steven Finn have both made England’s ODI squad to face India, with Ravi Bopara a surprise omission.
Hales has been rewarded for his century for England Lions against Sri Lanka A, and will be under particular scrutiny as he looks to secure a place in the Test side.
Sam Robson failed to score a place-saving ton in the fifth Test, and that could pave the way for Hales’ introduction as opener alongside captain Alastair Cook.
Finn’s impressive season with Middlesex has also been recognised, after the bowler was sent home from England duty last year in a bid to regain his form and confidence.
Disappointment for Bopara
On the other hand, Bopara’s county form with Essex appears to have been overlooked, as does his previous experience with the Three Lions. The same could also be said of Yorkshire’s Tim Bresnan.
Notts wicket-keeper James Taylor will be similarly disappointed. Taylor continues to be frustrated as England have once again opted for Lancashire’s Jos Buttler, though his selection is fairly unsurprising considering his performances after replacing Matt Prior in the Test squad.
Broad misses out
Stuart Broad is the other big name missing from the 15-man squad, as he prepares for surgery to relieve tendonitis in his right knee. Despite fears his facial injuries suffered against India would mean he couldn’t be given anaesthetic, he is expected to go under the knife in the near future.
England’s bowling attack is bolstered by two spinners in Moeen Ali and James Tredwell. The latter may have given up on establishing himself as their key spinner due to the exploits of the former, but at 32-years-of-age, he will no doubt be pleased to have broken back into the reckoning.
Surprisingly strong squad
Head coach Peter Moores now has the task of translating their monumental success in the 3-1 series win against India into a more consistent streak. With this in mind, he has chosen a strong side, perhaps even unnecessarily.
The likes of James Anderson, Ian Bell and Joe Root have been overworked by England’s packed schedule, and could easily have been rested.
At the very least, this squad provides a sign that the ECB are finally taking ODI cricket seriously, especially with the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand not far away.
James Whittaker, one of the ECB’s national selectors, told Sky Sports: “With the ICC Cricket World Cup now less than six months away, our focus over the coming months switches to identifying our strongest possible squad for that competition.”
Squad in full: Cook (c), Anderson, Ballance, Bell, Buttler, Finn, Gurney, Hales, Jordan, Moeen, Morgan, Root, Stokes, Tredwell, Woakes