England have named Haseeb Hameed and Ollie Robinson in their 17-man squad for the opening two Tests of the five-match series against India. Meanwhile, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Sam Curran too return to the side after missing the New Zealand series.
Meanwhile, fast bowlers Jofra Archer and Chris Woakes have been forced to miss out because of their respective injuries. Archer is likely to miss the entire series because of a persistent elbow injury, while Woakes sustained a bruised heel. Olly Stone and Ben Foakes too are injured. Wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey, who played both the Tests against New Zealand, has been left out.
Hameed, who made his Test debut against India in 2016, was called as a cover during the New Zealand series but has now retained his spot because of his outstanding form in the County Championship. The right-handed opener has scored 642 runs in nine games at an average of 45.85 for Nottinghamshire and is currently playing a three-day practice match against India for County Select XI.
"A home Test series against India is one of the most anticipated red-ball series and this promises to be an outstanding five Tests. India are a quality team who have shown their ability to get results away from home. We are expecting a highly competitive series and have selected our strongest possible squad," said head coach Chris Silverwood on Wednesday (July 21).
"The returns of all-rounders Ben Stokes and Sam Curran provide balance that allows us to get back to a structure that has been successful in Test cricket. Ben's leadership in the series against Pakistan, when he played despite his finger not yet being 100 percent, typified his character and commitment that drives the players around him forward. With Jos and Jonny back in the squad, we have added further experience and quality that will be needed against the world's second-ranked team.
"We have selected Ollie Robinson after his seven-wicket Test debut against New Zealand. Ollie proved in that Test that he has the ability to replicate his outstanding form in the County Championship at the international level and we will continue to work with him to develop his England career."
Robinson received an eight-game ban, five of them deferred, for racist and sexist tweets he posted in 2012 and 2013 that came to light again during the 27-year-old's Test debut against New Zealand at Lord's in June. But a disciplinary hearing paved the way for the seamer to feature against India after deeming Robinson had already served a three-game ban, having been suspended from the second Test against New Zealand and then dropping out of two Twenty20 matches for county side Sussex.
Robinson performed well on his England debut, taking seven wickets -- including a haul of 4/75 -- and making a useful 42 in a drawn series opener at Lord's. But the Twitter storm meant he was suspended from international duty and missed an eight-wicket defeat in the second and final Test against New Zealand at Edgbaston, a reverse that saw England lose their first Test series at home in seven years.
Jack Leach and Dom Bess have been selected as the specialist spinners. All England players will be available for the first two rounds of the Hundred before linking up at Loughborough for a training camp ahead of the first Test. The series will start in Trent Bridge, Nottingham on August 4 before the subsequent Tests at Lord's, Headingley, Kennington Oval and Old Trafford.
Squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood.
(With inputs from AFP)