You can tell when an England tour is going disastrously wrong. For one thing, it’s often in Australia. For another, team selection becomes something akin to drawing names out of a hat or a confused and muddled game of musical chairs.
And so it is for the third Test in St Lucia, after a pair of absolute spankings in Barbados and Antigua, that England have recalled Keaton Jennings to open the innings a whole week after deciding he wasn’t up to it.
Ben Foakes makes way – a decision that, by all accounts, England have made by choice rather than due to injury – meaning Jonny Bairstow is back in the gloves and back down the order. Joe Denly gets another chance, at number three this time which is, at least, the number where he actually bats.
🚨 BREAKING NEWS 🚨
We have named a 12-man squad for the third Test against West Indies.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 8, 2019
Durham fast bowler Mark Wood looks certain to make his first Test appearance of the winter, with the final place in the side dependant on Ben Stokes’ injured heel. If Stokes doesn’t play, Sam Curran will earn a reprieve.
It’s a bit of a shambles, really. Maybe one opening batsman and three wicketkeepers was a step too far even for England’s ‘Total Cricket’ but Foakes is a pretty unlucky fall guy given some of the horrific performances from others who are still in, or back in, the team.
The match starts on Saturday and in theory continues until Wednesday.
It’s no wonder Sir Alastair Cook has admitted you can never say never when quizzed about a possible comeback…
Has he brought his pads after all?
“You can never never never say never because you don’t know what the situation is.
— Test Match Special (@bbctms) February 8, 2019
England squad for third Test v West Indies: Rory Burns, Keaton Jennings, Joe Denly, Joe Root (c), Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Moeen Ali, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Sam Curran.
England can collapse in ODIs as well, then.
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Does Mark Wood crack the top seven fastest balls of all time? (Spoiler alert, he definitely doesn’t)….
2019 starts with so much hope. Like a Stokes over to Brathwaite, don’t let this be a wasted opportunity.
Centuries from Jason Roy and Joe Root helped England complete their highest one-day run chase.
As it turns out, you can learn much about cricket while someone has got their hands down your pants…
When you think about it, there’s nothing quite like a cricketing batting collapse…
With Dhawan, of course, the most obvious expression of his enjoyment comes with the bat.