Moeen Ali has been named in the England squad for the first Specsavers Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston beginning on Thursday (August 1).
The Worcestershire all-rounder is part of a 14 strong party chosen for the opening game in the five match series.
ICC World Cup winner Moeen, who was 32 last month, had little opportunity to bowl in the seamer-friendly one-off Test against Ireland at Lord’s this week.
But he will be striving to continue the form with the ball displayed since he returned to the side for red ball cricket during the latter part of last summer.
Moeen picked up 12 wickets in two home Tests versus India, then 18 in three matches in Sri Lanka followed by 14 in a trio of Tests in the West Indies.
It added up to an impressive tally of 44 in eight Tests and took his overall wicket tally to 178 at an improving average of 36.24 from 59 Tests.
Moeen’s single wicket against Ireland lifted him to 18th spot in England’s list of all-time Test wicket-takers and above Angus Fraser.
He will also be aiming to make a sizeable contribution after those 12 Tests against India, Sri Lanka and West Indies produced two half centuries.
After impressing in England’s successful ICC Cricket World Cup campaign, Sussex fast bowler Jofra Archer is called up to the Test squad for the first time. The 24-year-old returned to action for Sussex last night in the Vitality Blast after a sore left side.
His readiness for five-day cricket will be assessed at Edgbaston. Since making his senior debut in 2016, Archer has played 28 first-class matches taking 131 wickets at 23.44.
Lancashire batsman Jos Buttler and Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes return to the Test squad having been rested for the Ireland Test at Lord’s.
Somerset’s Lewis Gregory and Jack Leach miss out having been selected in the Test squad for the victory over Ireland this week.
Lancashire seamer Jimmy Anderson is making good progress in his rehabilitation from his right calf injury and is expected to be fit for the first Test.
Colin Graves, Chairman of the ECB, has approved the reappointment of Ben Stokes as Test vice-captain following the recommendation from Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket Ashley Giles and ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison.
Stokes returns to the role for the first time since September 2017 and assumes responsibility from Jos Buttler.
Commenting on the selection of the squad, National Selector Ed Smith, said: “Though it is unusual to select a squad of 14 for a home Test, there are compelling reasons to do so here.
“Several bowlers are recovering from injuries or niggles. In addition, some bowlers who played in the World Cup are being closely monitored to assess their preparation for Test match cricket.
“The wider circumstances – a successful home World Cup campaign followed so quickly by a home Ashes series – are unprecedented. It feels sensible to select an expanded squad and leave a number of bowling options open for the final team selection.”
England first Test squad versus Australia:
Joe Root (Yorkshire) captain
Moeen Ali (Worcestershire)
Jimmy Anderson (Lancashire)
Jofra Archer (Sussex)
Jonny Bairstow (Yorkshire)
Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)
Rory Burns (Surrey)
Jos Buttler (Lancashire)
Sam Curran (Surrey)
Joe Denly (Kent)
Jason Roy (Surrey)
Ben Stokes (Durham) vice-captain
Olly Stone (Warwickshire)
Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)
England Specsavers Ashes Test Series Schedule:
1st Specsavers Ashes Test match, England v Australia, 1-5 August 2019, Edgbaston, Birmingham
2nd Specsavers Ashes Test match, England v Australia, 14-18 August 2019, Lord’s, London
3rd Specsavers Ashes Test match, England v Australia, 22-26 August 2019, Emerald Headingley, Leeds
4th Specsavers Ashes Test match, England v Australia, 4-8 September 2019, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
5th Specsavers Ashes Test match, England v Australia, 12-16 September 2019, Kia Oval, London