Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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England have named a 14-man squad for the second Test against Pakistan which has led to a perception of uncertainty about their plans. James Anderson and Ben Stokes have recovered from injuries while Adil Rashid has also been included. ESPNcricinfo looks at a few different combinations the selectors could go with as England attempt to level the series.
Back to Plan A
This would be the balance of side that England started their Test season with, Stokes returning at No. 6 as one of five bowlers. Chris Woakes' stellar season means that he is now a certain starter which forces Steven Finn and Jake Ball out of the side. This also lengthens the batting with Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali each slipping back down a place in the order.
Alastair Cook, Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Vince, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Even more bowling
England are blessed with their allrounders. So why not make the most of them? There was debate before the first Test whether Stokes could play as a batsman with the consensus that he was good enough, so in this side he replaces one of the middle order - either James Vince or Gary Ballance, the former on this occasion - meaning a quartet of multi-dimensional players from No. 5 to No. 8. Six bowlers (and five quicks, Finn keeping his place ahead of Ball) may seem overloaded, but it would further allow a spread of the workload with two of them, Stokes and Anderson, returning from injury.
Alastair Cook, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, James Anderson
The last time England played two spinners in a home Test was against Australia, at The Oval, in 2013 when Simon Kerrigan made his debut. They returned to a pair of slow bowlers in the UAE, when Rashid partnered Moeen, and Trevor Bayliss has suggested it could be a route they will follow again at Old Trafford. The Manchester pitch is known to encourage spin - both in terms of turn, but significantly bounce as well - and the recent burst of warm weather could further help create a surface that favours spinners. However, it would be a significant risk and could even play into Pakistan's hands: in the UAE they effectively blocked out the quicks and then thrashed the spin, although in this side Stokes is again used at No. 5 so there could be four fast bowlers in the XI.
Alastair Cook, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson
Change of spinner
This is another spin-related selection, but a straight swap rather than a pairing. Moeen is not being jettisoned purely for that second-innings hoick at Yasir Shah; Pakistan's batting order is dominated by right handers so the ball turning away from them, from Rashid, could be more effective than the ball spinning into them from Moeen. Since the start of the year, Moeen is averaging over 90 with the ball so while he continues to have the knack of chipping out wickets (Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq at Lord's was a fine pair to remove) he is clearly proving less effective than previously. In this side, the balance is back to five bowlers with Vince and Ballance both retaining places in the middle order.
Alastair Cook, Alex Hales, Joe Root, James Vince, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad, James Anderson