LONDON – England’s all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson was ruled out of a 12-man squad announced on Thursday for next week´s first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s.
Anderson has not recovered from a right shoulder injury sustained in the third Test against Sri Lanka last month, which was part of a three-match series England won 2-0.
The Lancashire pacer’s place in the squad has been taken by uncapped seamer Toby Roland-Jones, now pushing for a Test debut at his home ground, Lords.
“Jimmy has been touch and go for a while, he is making really good progress but it is the selectors’ view that he just won’t be quite ready for that first Test, hopefully for the second,” said England captain Alastair Cook at a press conference on Thursday.
With struggling number three Nick Compton having taken time out of cricket, the selectors have recalled Yorkshire´s Gary Ballance for the first of a four-Test series starting on July 14.
They also decided against recalling one-day wicket-keeper Jos Buttler to Test duty and playing all-rounder Ben Stokes, not fit for bowling following a knee injury, as a specialist batsman.
Roland-Jones, 28, has been in fine form for Middlesex this season, with 30 County Championship wickets at under 30 apiece.
Ballance, 26, last played Test cricket against Australia at Lords last year.
This week he scored 132 in the first innings against Middlesex at Scarborough.
England national selector James Whitaker said: “Building on the success of the Test series win against Sri Lanka last month, we have maintained our objective of retaining a balanced squad.
“With an injury to James Anderson, there is an opportunity for Toby Roland-Jones who has been a consistent performer in the County Championship over the last few years and deserves his chance.”
Former England batsman Whitaker added: “Gary Ballance is recalled to the Test squad for the first time since the winter series in South Africa and could play his first Test for England in 12 months.
“He has been in recent form with the bat for Yorkshire in the Championship.
“Gary is mentally strong and we feel that he will add quality and experience to England´s middle-order.
“Pakistan will give us a stiff challenge during this series and we can expect some fantastic cricket from both sides over the next couple of months.”
This will be England’s first home series against Pakistan since the infamous 2010 campaign.
That year’s Lords Test saw Pakistan seamers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, together with captain Salman Butt, getting five-year bans and jail terms for deliberately bowling no-balls as part of a newspaper sting operation.
Left-arm fast bowler Amir returned to international cricket earlier this year and the 24-year-old could now make his Test comeback at Lords.
Alastair Cook (Essex, capt), Moeen Ali (Worcestershire), Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire, wkt), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Jake Ball (Nottinghamshire), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Alex Hales (Nottinghamshire), Joe Root (Yorkshire), Toby Roland-Jones (Middlesex), James Vince (Hampshire), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire).