He probably isn't the player the crowds will be looking forward to watching, he probably isn't the bowler keeping Steve Smith awake at night and he probably isn't likely to feature on the front cover of Wisden, but Craig Overton's selection for this fourth Test makes some sense.

Overton is, in many ways, an archetypal English seamer. He is not especially quick - 85mph may be his peak speed - and doesn't gain the sharp movement of James Anderson. But he will hit a consistent line and length, he will gain more bounce than most, he bowls a decent bouncer and he will not wilt under pressure. He won't let England down.

With England keen to ensure their strike bowlers are not worked into the ground and concerned that Chris Woakes is a little jaded after a tumultuous few months, Overton has been called up to offer reliability and control. They are not the most glamorous of attributes but, in a team blessed with more flamboyance than consistency, more champagne than bread-and-butter, such skills have their place.

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While his selection here may seem to come out of the blue, it doesn't really. He was put on unofficial standby as a concussion substitute earlier in the series and, in the last month, is said to have recovered that bit of nip and bounce that suggests he is at his best. He has claimed 32 wickets at 21.34 this Championship season and while his brother, Jamie (who has claimed 26 at 18.88 this season), is notably sharper, he is also less reliable.

Some, it seems, will never forgive Overton for an incident in 2015 when he was alleged to have abused - perhaps racially - Sussex's Ashar Zaidi. And it is true there were aspects of the case - not least that the comments were reported by two exemplary witnesses, non-striking batsman Michael Yardy and one of the umpires, Alex Wharf - which remain concerning.

Before rushing to condemn him, however, it is worth remembering he was found guilty of a Level One offence - using language that is obscene, offensive or insulting - and not a Level Two or Three offence - which would have encompassed racial abuse. In short, he wasn't found to have committed the more serious charge. As a result, it doesn't seem especially reasonable to continue to hold it against him.

The England management have long admired his tough character. This was demonstrated early in his Test career when he not only top-scored in the first innings of his debut Test in Adelaide - he made 41 from No. 9 - but also bowled the most overs and took the most wickets in Australia's first innings. His maiden wicket was Steve Smith.

Perhaps more persuasively, he shrugged off a cracked rib - sustained when Pat Cummins struck him with a short ball - to bowl 41 overs in Australia's first innings in the following Test in Perth. He was only forced to admit defeat when throwing himself into a diving boundary save. He heard a large crack as he landed - the little crack becoming something more substantial - and was ruled out for the rest of the series. Paul Farbrace used to say, were it up to him, he would include him in every England team.

Overton will have the role of workhorse here. He may be expected to bowl long, tight spells and ensure Jofra Archer, in particular, can be used more sparingly. England hope that his extra height will extract a bit more bounce from a surface that isn't expected to offer the same lateral movement as other tracks in this series. Indeed, in normal circumstances, it looks to be the sort of surface - a little cracked already and with little grass cover - on which two spinners might be played. But with Adil Rashid injured and Moeen Ali out of sorts, Jack Leach will be relied upon to carry that burden. At least one member of England's coaching staff thought it an oddly hospitable pitch which offered no home advantage.

Woakes can probably count himself unfortunate. Having suffered from a knee injury through the winter tours, he was obliged to play several games for Warwickshire in order to prove his fitness ahead of the World Cup. He then played in the series against Pakistan, the whole World Cup and every Test so far this summer. And, while England insist he was fit for selection here, there were times at Leeds, at least, when the miles in the legs started to show. He will hate to miss out on this game, but the break may do him good.

In the longer term, the England management are concerned at his effectiveness on flat surfaces, especially flat surfaces where there is no Duke's ball available to him. They point out he could still play at The Oval in the unlikely event that the pitch is green but his captain's use of him so far this series - lack of use, might be more accurate - does not augur especially well for him.

Sam Curran, too, could be forgiven for wondering why he is with the squad. But while he clearly has talent with bat and ball, he is a bit slower and a bit shorter than Overton. The concern is his batting is not quite strong enough - he hasn't scored a first-class century - to bat in the top six and his bowling not quite strong enough to be relied upon to ensure that Archer and co aren't over-bowled. His best chance of a place may be at No. 7 instead of Jos Buttler.

It is revealing that the only selection change has involved the bowlers. While there has been the odd day in recent years when England's bowlers have struggled for penetration or consistency, this team's primary problem remains their fragile batting. Shuffling that top-order seems unlikely to suddenly unearth a pair of aces. There are two of three batsmen in this side who really need to repay the faith shown in them.

In the longer term, there seems to be a strong temptation to play Zak Crawley and Dominic Sibley in a top three that also includes Rory Burns. But for that, it seems, we will have to wait until they reach New Zealand. There is important business to be conducted first.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo