Jos Buttler has earned a surprise recall to England's Test team at the expense of James Vince, while the Somerset spinner, Dominic Bess, was the beneficiary of his team-mate Jack Leach's misfortune, as the new national selector, Ed Smith, unveiled his squad for next week's first Test against Pakistan.
Buttler, who has not played red-ball cricket for England since the tour of India in November and December 2016, has found a rich vein of form for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL this month, with a tournament-record five consecutive half-centuries, including unbeaten scores of 95 and 94 in his last two innings.
"Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent, who is already a central part of England's white-ball teams," Smith said. "The selection panel feels that this is the perfect moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket, where he has already enjoyed some success, including a stint playing as a specialist batsman at number seven. Jos is playing with great confidence and flair, and he will bring unique qualities to the Test team."
He will return to the middle order, with Jonny Bairstow retaining the wicketkeeper's role and moving up the order, meaning Vince is fall guy after a winter of false dawns, in spite of a timely Championship double-century for Hampshire against Somerset on Monday. Joe Root will bat at No.3 with Dawid Malan at No. 4.
Vince, who was recalled to the Test squad for the Ashes, in spite of a mediocre start to his career against Sri Lanka and Pakistan in 2016, made an attractive 83 in his first Test innings of the winter, at Brisbane in November, and signed off with 76 against New Zealand at Christchurch last month. However, in between whiles, he made just one more score of fifty in nine innings, with a propensity to get himself out when well set costing him dear.
Bess, meanwhile, has leapfrogged to the front of England's spinning options, in the wake of a cruel injury for Leach in the nets at Taunton next week. A fractured left thumb means he will be out of action for both Pakistan Tests, and so will be unable to back up the promise he showed on Test debut in Christchurch last month. Moeen Ali was dropped for the final Test in New Zealand and has played no red-ball cricket since due to his spell at the IPL.
"Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career," Smith said. "He has impressed everyone with his performances for Somerset and when he has been given opportunities with England representative teams. With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler. Dom's strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case for selection.
Chris Woakes and Mark Wood, who was recalled in Christchurch, will compete for the final fast-bowling spot while Mark Stoneman has retained his place at the top of the order despite a lean start to the season. He had faced pressure from an in-form Nick Gubbins.
Meanwhile, Malan and Tom Curran have been awarded incremental contracts based on their performances in the 2017-18 period. Malan was one of the few successes in the Ashes while Curran became a regular part of the one-day side.