Bairstow, Moeen left out of England squad for Southampton Test
England have left out wicket-keeper batsman Jonny Bairstow and all-rounder Moeen Ali for the opening Test against West Indies, which commences from July 8 at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. The first Test will mark the return of international cricket for the first time since the sport - across formats - had been brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic. England named a 13-man squad, as well as a reserves squad of nine players.
After a poor run of form in last year's Ashes, Bairstow had been dropped for England's Test assignment in New Zealand with the view for him to work on his red-ball game. But he eventually missed the cut as Ben Foakes - who was named in the England squad as the second keeper in the abandoned tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year - has been picked. The indication of this move was clear when Foakes was handed the gloves for the Ben Stokes XI that took on Jos Buttler XI in a three-day intra-squad match. Bairstow finished the game with scores of 11 and 39.
Just a couple of months after announcing that he was ready to find his way back into the Test set-up, Moeen Ali finds himself without a spot in the side that will take on the West Indies in four day's time. Like Bairstow, Moeen too suffered indifferent form during last year's Ashes and was dropped in just the second game after putting in disappointing performances in the series opener in Edgbaston (3-172 and scores of 0 and 4). Moeen responded to the axing by deciding to take time away from the longest format, and was unavailable for selection for the tours of New Zealand, South Africa and the now-cancelled series against Sri Lanka.
While England will have their opening batsman Rory Burns back after not being part of the squad for Sri Lanka series due to injury, the likes of Matthew Parkinson and Keaton Jennings have missed out. Sam Curran, who was part of the squad for Sri Lanka Tests, is now among the reserves as James Anderson and Mark Wood have returned.
As confirmed before, Ben Stokes will lead England in the absence of Joe Root, who will be away to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. He will self-isolate for seven days before joining up with the England squad for the second Test in Manchester, starting from July 16.