Key players dropped as England announce squad for West Indies Tests

England dropped experienced wicketkeepers Ben Foakes and Jonny Bairstow as well as bowlers Jack Leach and Mark Wood from their 14-member squad for the first two Test matches of the three-match Test series against West Indies.

Nottinghamshire seamer Dillon Pennington and Surrey wicketkeeper batter Jamie Smith have earned their maiden call-ups in Test cricket. Both have been standout performers in the County Championship Division One this season.

Surrey seamer Gus Atkinson is the only other uncapped player. He was part of the squad for the Test tour of India earlier this year.

Pennington, 25, who joined Nottinghamshire this year from Worcestershire, has been showing his promise with the ball, taking 29 Championship wickets at an average of 23.03 in the top flight.

Meanwhile, the attacking right-hand batter Smith, who has been in spectacular form this campaign, helping Surrey consolidate their top spot in Division One, has scored 507 runs at an average of 50.70.

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He is set to be rewarded with his Test debut next week at Lord’s and add to his England ODI credentials when he debuted last summer against Ireland.

Seamer Chris Woakes also returned to the Test squad for the first time since July 2023, when he was awarded the Player of the Series during the Ashes series against Australia.

“The first Test of the summer is always a special moment, but it will be extra poignant with it being Jimmy’s (Anderson) last Test before he retires,” ECB Managing Director for England Men’s Cricket, Rob Key.

“He has given everything to the sport since his Test debut in 2003. We all would like to wish him well as he walks out at Lord’s for the last time for England.

“We are looking forward to getting the season underway against a strong West Indies side in what will be an excellent Test series.”

England Test Squad for West Indies series

Ben Stokes (Durham) Captain

James Anderson (Lancashire) (First Test only)

Gus Atkinson (Surrey)

Shoaib Bashir (Somerset)

Harry Brook (Yorkshire)

Zak Crawley (Kent)

Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire)

Dan Lawrence (Surrey)

Dillon Pennington (Nottinghamshire)

Ollie Pope (Surrey)

Matthew Potts (Durham)

Joe Root (Yorkshire)

Jamie Smith (Surrey)

Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)

Series Schedule

1st Test: England v West Indies, 10-14 July 2024, Lord’s Cricket Ground, London

2nd Test: England v West Indies, 18-22 July 2024, Trent Bridge, Nottingham

3rd Test: England v West Indies, 26-30 July 2024, Edgbaston, Birmingham

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