India in England 2014

Stokes recalled in squad for India

David Hopps

July 2, 2014

Comments: 117 | Text size: A | A
How does Stokes get into the team?


Ben Stokes successfully appeals for the wicket of Shane Watson, Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 2nd day, December 27, 2013
Ben Stokes was England's star performer during the 5-0 Ashes whitewash © Getty Images
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Ben Stokes has been recalled by England for the first Investec Test against India as the only addition to the 12-man squad which was named for both Tests against Sri Lanka.

England have resisted any temptation to respond to pressure for a specialist spinner and have reasserted their belief that the balance of their side in the wake of Graeme Swann's retirement, with Moeen Ali as the only credible spin bowling option alongside four seamers, can be successful in traditional English conditions.

Moeen picked up three wickets in the two Tests although Alastair Cook did not appear to have much faith in his bowling. Adam Riley is being closely monitored at Kent as a medium-term solution to England's spin bowling problems.

Stokes was deemed not to have played enough first-class cricket prior to the Sri Lanka series to retain the place he earned during the Ashes tour of Australia following the broken hand he sustained when punching a dressing-room locker in West Indies.

Since then he has claimed a career-best 7 for 67 for Durham against Sussex - and a 10-wicket haul in the match - although his batting returns have been less eye-catching with 172 runs at 28.66 in four Championship matches.

There will be popular acclaim for the return of one of the few players to enhance his reputation during England's demoralising Ashes tour, but it would be misguided to assume that Stokes will be an automatic pick for Trent Bridge.

He will need conditions in his favour to win selection, either ahead of Moeen if England unexpectedly opt for an all-seam attack on a green seamer or ahead of Chris Jordan if the selectors decide to jettison Jordan as the fourth seamer after two relatively unproductive Tests on flat surfaces against Sri Lanka. As far as Stokes is concerned, the flatter the pitch and the more settled the weather, the better his chances.

Certainly, the national selector, James Whitaker, was careful not to make it sound certain that he will add to his four Test caps. "He is now in a group with Chris Woakes and others and can show what he has got," Whitaker said. "Mainly, he is a vivacious character, he has some x-factor and he is fantastic on flat wickets.

"Ben has done really well over the last couple of weeks. He has bowled over 100 overs and has been in prime form with the ball in the last Championship match. Ben did remarkably well in the Ashes for a young player and he now comes with full vigour into our squad."

Stokes made his debut in Adelaide then scored a maiden Test century in his second outing in Perth before finishing the series with 6 for 99 in Sydney. His subsequent tour of West Indies was difficult for him as he struggled with the bat and it ended with his outburst of frustration.

Woakes, the Warwickshire allrounder, who was consigned to 12th man duties in the two Tests against Sri Lanka, also offers an alternative. He is regarded as a fast-improving cricketer by this group of selectors, he is a former Lions captain at a time when the need for strong leaders is very much in England's thoughts and he has kept his name in mind with a strong display at Edgbaston in the current Championship match against Nottinghamshire, helping to turn the game in Warwickshire's favour with 91 and 5 for 35 in Nottinghamshire's second innings.

Whitaker emphasised that England's selectors will not be rushed into choosing a specialist spin bowler for the sake of it with Swann now in retirement.

"Everybody has become used to the success Graeme had brought to English cricket," Whitaker said. "He was remarkable. We knew we would have to rebalance the team and look at different options about how to go forward into the summer and beyond. We think we have a good balance now for the sort of wickets we play on in England.

"Moeen Ali will help the spin department and so will Joe Root. It is a different way of balancing the team but with four quality seamers as well we have a lot of depth. It is hard to get used to but we have to make it work. We have two or three youngish spinners operating in county cricket who we feel aren't quite ready yet, but in the meantime we have full confidence in Moeen to do a very good job."

It was not always so at Headingley as Sri Lanka turned the second Test to take the series that Cook, England's captain, shared that faith.

"When any new players come into a team it will take a little time for a captain to get confidence in him, to know how they operate and build a relationship," Whitaker said. "We have every confidence that Alastair will do that. Certainly Moeen has shown with the bat how he can fit into this culture and environment and be confident."

Squad Alastair Cook (capt), Sam Robson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Matt Prior, Chris Jordan, Stuart Broad, Liam Plunkett, James Anderson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2014, 10:35 GMT)

@Arun Bose - You say about the SA tour and you're right a 1-0 defeat isn't that bad but what about the NZ tour? We can all go back to moments in games where our team was unlucky etc but facts are facts.

I have said on numerous occasions that Swann would be the hardest player to replace - even before he retired - and have said that we should be blooding a specialist spinner but re

"Please bring back Swann"

it was Swann who retired and not England's choice.

You say you don't go by history but are happy to quote times when teams have failed against India so I'm guessing history doesn't matter when it's against your side but when it's for your side or against other sides Listen there's a difference between supporting your side /even believing in your side and shouting the odds. As I have said , this series could go either way. I would not be surprised if either team won the series big

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2014, 10:35 GMT)

@Arun Bose - You say you've not said anything about India thrashing England but anything between 3 and 5-0 is a thrashing and you have said that on several occasions. I don't know what Eng players are doing at the moment and if they are chilling playing video games at home then that is wrong and I'd like to know where this info comes from. I have said on numerous occasions that I think our players don't play enough county cricket these days but they could argue that it worked between 3 and 5 years ago when they were on their best run. Regardless I don't see it as over confidence - more a case of wrapping up our players in cotton wool. I don't agree with it but I certainly don't see it as over confidence. Why would a team who just lost to SL on home soil be complacent?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2014, 10:34 GMT)

@Arun Bose ctd - Re India and preparation - there have been several comments throughout the years from Indian fans who believe that India concentrates too much on IPL and shorter formats in general at the expense of progress in the longer format. I'm not disagreeing with many of the criticisms you aim at England as I have said previously I (and others) have said similar things about by side. Just that you seem to be perfectly able and willing to criticise other countries cricket but when others say anything about India you find it insulting.

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2014, 10:34 GMT)

@Arun Bose - You say you've not said anything about India thrashing England but anything between 3 and 5-0 is a thrashing and you have said that on several occasions. I don't know what Eng players are doing at the moment and if they are chilling playing video games at home then that is wrong and I'd like to know where this info comes from. I have said on numerous occasions that I think our players don't play enough county cricket these days but they could argue that it worked between 3 and 5 years ago when they were on their best run. Regardless I don't see it as over confidence - more a case of wrapping up our players in cotton wool. I don't agree with it but I certainly don't see it as over confidence. Why would a team who just lost to SL on home soil be complacent?

Posted by   on (July 4, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

Staples is a good bet for England..

Posted by   on (July 4, 2014, 8:39 GMT)

@JG2704- Playing video games at home and chilling when a big series is just around the corner for those players who are out of form just shows how overconfident they are..Well, Overconfidence backfires most of the time..I am not overconfident, I am a firm believer that my team will do better this time.. I haven't said anything abt India thrashing England..I have just said India will win by 4-0 or 3-0 whatever.. But you can't escape the reality, Form is temporary but it can become permanent if you don't do anything abt it like England players and management is doing right now.. They should have played some county games instead.. Well, We should stop this war now and wait for the series to begin and will analyze later after the series.. What you say? Truce? For the moment?

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2014, 8:26 GMT)

@social_monster09 on (July 4, 2014, 4:34 GMT) Don't think most English fans are firmly standing behind our side - just pointing out that others have frailties too.

But you're right - it is a great series as it is so hard to predict because both sides are so vulnerable

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2014, 8:21 GMT)

@Arun Bose - Not one poster on these boards was talking about India before you started with the "Eng think they're invincible/India will win 5-0,4-0 or 3-0" depending on what day it is.

You talk about other fans giving no respect to India (when they are only pointing out India's away frailties) but then it's ok for you to say your team will thrash us even before a ball is bowled? If it's OK for you to point out our frailties (and I'm quite open minded and realistic about England and your criticisms are nothing what we have not said about the England team either)why does it suddenly become disrespectful when others talk about India's frailties?

And may I also point out again that there were no comments about India - let alone disrespectful ones - from English fans before you started the unbecoming comms about thrashing us etc.

PS India won the CL trophy over here and were superb but that is a format where India excels at in any country

Posted by JG2704 on (July 4, 2014, 8:14 GMT)

@Arun Bose - ctd from post(July 3, 2014, 9:40 GMT) and that would be disrespectful to SL. They beat us fair and square. We can all find little excuses for any defeat but I find it best to man up. Re

"You need to understand that NZ tour was their only second abroad tour, They did performed well with the bat and bowlers did well too"

Well the scorecards totally contradict what you say here. In reality NZ won the 1st test and were in the better position in the 2nd test As I said Eng have probs , but I genuinely think you're straw clutching if you think India have no issues - no matter how happy the environment is. You can't have such a poor away record over recent years and have no issues whatsoever

Please publish this time - nothing of offence or untrue

Posted by   on (July 4, 2014, 6:08 GMT)

If English, Aussie, Kiwi, Lankan fans doesn't want to give an iota of respect to India then how dare you expect an Indian fan to give respect to your team? Why should we give respect to you when you're unwilling to respect this Indian team? The whole world wants India to lose. Why? What are you gonna gain by that negative thinking? If India beats England then it will feel like they have thrashed the whole world in one punch! Never ever underestimate India, India blown the whole world last year by winning the Champions trophy 2013 in England beating England in the final..Everyone said India has no chance to win it but instead they didn't lose any match in that tournament, I agree that was ODIs but they still defied the world who didn't gave them any chance.. When Indian team is determined then not even the whole universe can stop them.. Please learn to respect Indian cricket.. These players are very capable of turning tabes, Don't uderestimate..

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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