England captain Joe Root has confirmed that Jos Buttler will return to England's XI for the fifth Test at Old Trafford, starting September 10. Root also added that Moeen Ali, who was named vice-captain in Buttler's absence at The Oval will retain his place.
With Buttler back in the team, it will be one of either Jonny Bairstow and Ollie Pope to make way for him. Pope top-scored for England in the first innings at The Oval, with his 81 helping his side take a 99-run first innngs lead. Bairstow on the other hand managed 37 in the first innings but was out without troubling the scorers in the second.
"Jos is the vice-captain of the team," Root said ahead of England's training session on Wednesday (September 8), according to ESPNCricinfo.
"He is integral to what we are about. I know his output, in terms of runs, hasn't been as high as he would have liked, but we know what a great player he is. Jos will be back as vice-captain and he will keep wicket," he further added.
Speaking of Mooen, the England captain said, "I'd say that Moeen Ali is our first spinner. I've not seen the pitch yet, but it can spin at Old Trafford and the option of two spinners is something we have to look at."
Along with Buttler, Jack Leach was added to England's squad and he could be the second spinner in Manchester if needed. "Jack has done some fine things for England. We all know what he is capable of and we know he is a fine player. I'm sure Jack will be desperate to take the opportunity," Root added.
Root however did not give a clear indication of either Ollie Robinson or James Anderson would be rested for the final Test to avoid being overworked, considering that they have bowled over 160 overs each this series. "That's something we will weigh up over the next couple of days," Root said.
"These two days are really important for recovery and making sure that they are in a position to play Test cricket. One thing you have to do is trust the medical advice that's been given. Also, speak to the players that know their own bodies better than anyone."
"You never want to go into a Test match playing someone at risk of injury. You want to do the best thing for the player but also you don't want to go into a Test match and someone go down injured and you have got one less bowler at your disposal," Root, who has scored 564 runs at 94 this series added.
'Would like to see more wickets like the one at The Oval'
Root believes that the pitch for the Oval Test against India was a "brilliant example" of a good Test track and he would like to see more of these during the home season and the county circuit. England are having a forgettable summer at home, having lost to New Zealand in June and trailing India 1-2 in the ongoing five-match series.
The wicket at The Oval aided the pacers early on before becoming a batting beauty. On day five, Indian bowlers still managed to get enough out of it for a famous win.
"Home advantage is always going to be there. In this country at times with the weather, the amount of rain can disrupt how you prepare a pitch. But from my point of view I encourage just really good Test wickets," he said in an online press conference.
"If we're going to be the best team in the world we're going to have to be play on good wickets which are flat in certain periods. We're also going to have to be able to learn to deal with the scoreboard pressure.
"We should also be able to deal with the pressure of spinning wicket towards the back end of the Test match," he added.
Preparing a green top can also be counter-productive for England against a high-quality India pace attack. Root has not seen the wicket for the fifth Test yet but he has gained a lot of knowledge on the conditions at Old Trafford by playing thrice last year. "So, from our point of view, I just want English conditions. And hopefully that's what we get this week," Root said ahead of the game beginning Friday.
The skipper said the surface last week was the perfect advertisement for Test cricket and he wants more surfaces like that in county cricket. "...ultimately it comes down to playing on good wickets. That's part of the challenge. It doesn't really matter what time of year you play. And you look at this last Test match, it is a brilliant example.
"You've got seam and swing in the first innings. It got very good for batting and throughout the middle phases again and then reverse swing came into it later on. I mean, it had been everything for everyone," he explained.
"That's the sort of thing that we should be mirroring in County Cricket so guys have to deal with all aspects of the game. You should be able to deliver when conditions are in your favour, but also when it gets flat."
Root is also not too worried about facing Jasprit Bumrah as he believes that his side played him well in the innings victory in Leeds. "He bowled a brilliant spell. He is one of the best fast bowlers in the world. But we've also played him well a game earlier. And I think it's really important that we remember that as a batting group, we've had a good success against him," he added.
(With inputs from PTI)