England have recalled Chris Read, the Nottinghamshire wicketkeeper, for the third Test against Pakistan on Friday, replacing Geraint Jones. They have also drafted in Jon Lewis, whose bowling is expected to be ideal for Headingley, at the expense of Jamie Dalrymple.
Although Jones sustained a finger injury in the second Test at Old Trafford last week, the selectors confirmed the decision to replace him was based on Jones's form with the bat.
"Geraint has kept very well this summer, but he has been short of runs and the selectors feel that this is the right time to make a change," David Graveney, the England chairman of selectors, said. "We have taken this decision regardless of the injury to Geraint's finger. The key factor for the selectors was his form with the bat and we believe that he will benefit from having a break from international cricket and spending more time in the middle with his county."
Somewhat ironically, it was Jones who replaced Read in 2004 owing to his poor form with the bat. Until this season, it was Jones's ability behind the stumps which caused so many to call for his head. Yet despite considerable improvement with his glovework, it is his batting which has forced the selectors' hand: in his last ten matches, he has passed fifty just twice. Read, meanwhile, has scored heavily for his county in the past two seasons; since 2004, he has hit 3843 runs for Nottinghamshire and England A, with 20 fifties and eight hundreds. Earlier this month he struck an unbeaten 150 batting at No.8 against the touring Pakistanis.
"Chris Read was selected in the England Development Squad earlier this summer and he has also performed well for the A team against Pakistan," Graveney added. "There is real competition for places in the wicket-keeping department at present and I am sure Chris will want to make the most of his opportunity."
Read admitted his delight at his recall to the England side - he last played against the West Indies at Bridgetown in 2004 - while adding that he has worked hard on improving the supposed weaker facet of his game, batting.
"I felt that I kept well in the West Indies two years ago, but I knew that if was I going to get back in the Test side I would have to work on my batting because I hadn't scored enough runs," he said. "So I made a conscious effort to look at my batting and analyse where I can improve and have worked hard with the help of Mick Newell and Paul Johnson at Nottinghamshire as well as the staff at the ECB National Academy.
"Things have gone well for me and I feel that I have reaped the rewards by scoring well in both first-class and one-day cricket over the last couple of seasons," he said.
Jones was understandably disappointed at losing the place he has held for over two years, but remained confident of pushing for a place on the plane to Australia for this winter's Ashes.
"It's a blow to lose my place, but the selectors have explained the reasons why and I will be working extremely hard to win it back," he said. "I have been very pleased with my wicketkeeping this summer but I am also conscious of the fact that I am in the side as a batsman as well as a keeper.
"Your performances in Test matches are always going to come under intense scrutiny and what I need to do now is recapture my best form away from the international arena. It's up to me to go back to Kent, and as soon as my finger has recovered, look to score plenty of runs and put myself back in the frame for the Ashes this winter."
England squad Andrew Strauss (capt), Marcus Trescothick, Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Chris Read (wk), Sajid Mahmood, Jon Lewis, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Monty Panesar.