England have named 30 players in their “behind-closed-doors training group” who will live and train at the Ageas Bowl in the run-up to the first Test against West Indies, set to begin at the venue on 8 July.
The group will play a three-day practice match among themselves starting on 1 July, after which the squad for the first Test will be selected. National Selector Ed Smith was upbeat about the return of cricket.
“Everyone involved with England is delighted that cricket is returning soon, and that the players are reporting for group training in preparation for the Test series against the West Indies,” he said in a press statement.
Included in the squad are eight players who are uncapped at Test level: James Bracey, Lewis Gregory, Dan Lawrence, Saqib Mahmood, Jamie Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Robinson and Amar Virdi. Five of these players – Bracey, Lawrence, Overton, Robinson and Virdi – are yet to appear for England in any format.
England also confirmed the coaching personnel who will be assisting the squad, with the usual back-room team being supplemented by three county coaches. Lancashire’s Glen Chapple will be working with the bowlers, Gloucestershire’s Richard Dawson, who coached England Lions on their tour of Australia earlier in the year, will fill in as spin-bowling coach, and Kent’s Matthew Walker will assist batting coach Graham Thorpe. Chris Silverwood will remain as head coach, helped also by former England wicket-keeper Chris Read as wicket-keeping consultant, and ECB National Lead Fielding coach Carl Hopkinson.
“As is the case in the current climate, things have progressed quickly, and we are very grateful to counties for allowing us to second their coaches to support our Test preparation,” said ECB Performance Director Mo Bobat. “The larger group of players will certainly keep them busy.”
Bobat added: “Both Glen [Chapple] and Richard [Dawson] were involved in winter Lions activity, so it’s nice for them and the players to build on effective coaching relationships and it’s also a real positive for our domestic game that we can expose a greater number of our coaches to international cricket.
Assistant Coach Paul Collingwood will not be with the group, but will instead be in charge of England’s ODI side later in the year when they hope to play host to Ireland for a three-match series – though the fixtures are still awaiting confirmation.
Squad: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Dominic Bess, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, Lewis Gregory, Keaton Jennings, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Amar Virdi, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.