A new look England test side will head to the United Arab Emirates to play Pakistan in October and November.
Alistair Cook's 16-man squad has been revealed, with Nottinghamshire opener Alex Hales receiving the expected call-up to replace Adam Lyth at the top of the order.
Nottinghamshire counterpart James Taylor, following his blistering form against the Australians in the recent one-day international series, is also handed a chance at earning a test recall.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Joe Root, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler and James Anderson all also return to the international fold following being rested against the Aussies at the end of a tough summer of cricket.
The selectors have also decided to include a third spinner in the touring party. Surrey spinner Zafar Ansari will compete for a place in the side, providing he can recover from a dislocation, with Adil Rashid who arguably has the upper hand following his exploits against Australia in the past few weeks.
England are likely to play two spinners on the turning pitches, with Mooen Ali a certain starter due to his antics with both bat and ball in the last 12 months.
In terms of fast bowling, there are multiple options available to Trevor Bayliss and his staff. Steven Finn, James Anderson, Mark Wood, Liam Plunkett and Stuart Broad are likely to be competing for 2/3 places, and Jonny Bairstow is pushing to replace Jos Buttler behind the stumps following the latter's poor summer with the bat.
The batting has been a strong point since Bayliss came in to manage the side, and he will have decisions to make in the UAE following James Taylor's timely return to international runs. The small-statured Nottinghamshire batsmen starred in the series with Australia against an attack blessed with serious pace and guile. There is no place for Yorkshire pairing Adam Lyth or Gary Ballance after their poor performances against the Aussies, and Taylor is certain to be fighting it out with Ian Bell for a slot in the side.
It is important for England to find the right balance in these conditions. They simply have to play two spinners, and Joe Root can always turn the arm over and steal a few overs if needs be. James Anderson will have to use all his skill in conditions that will not be favourable to swing, and Stuart Broad will hope to continue his brilliant year.
England have to take risks on this tour, it won't be easy against a strong Pakistani side. My XI for the first test in Dubai on the 13th October would be as follows ;
1. Alistair Cook (C)
2. Alex Hales
3. James Taylor
4. Joe Root
5. Ian Bell
6. Ben Stokes
7. Mooen Ali
8. Jos Buttler
9. Adil Rashid
10. Stuart Broad
11. James Anderson
Many will argue against the extra batsman being included, but with three seam bowlers and potentially three spinners, England bat extremely deep here and still have enough options with the ball. I would expect Mark Wood to play instead of one of the batsmen, but I feel this is the team that England should be leading with.News Now - Sport News