Jonathan Trott is closing in on his 50th Test appearance for England less than a year after it seemed he might never play top-level cricket again.
Trott is back in the Test squad for the first time since he quit the Ashes tour in November 2013 with a stress-related illness. An attempted comeback for Warwickshire last April initially failed after the condition recurred but Trott has now forced his way back in, thanks to an excellent end to last summer for his county and a successful tour of South Africa with England Lions.
Trott and Yorkshire opener Adam Lyth will battle to partner captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order in the West Indies, meaning there is no place for Sam Robson, who had been expected to make the party despite poor form against India last summer.
As the Evening Standard reported last week, England have decided to leave out Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali due to respective foot and side injuries, which they sustained during the World Cup. Woakes is replaced by Durham quick Mark Wood, while both Adil Rashid, the Yorkshire leg-spinner, and Kent off-spinner James Tredwell have been chosen as slow bowling options in the absence of Moeen.
There is also a recall for Durham all-rounder Ben Stokes, who is considered one of the most talented players in the English game. But he failed to build on a breakthrough series in the Ashes and was even left out of the World Cup squad.
Stokes’s former county colleague, Yorkshire fast bowler Liam Plunkett, is another back in the squad after playing well for the Lions.
The 16-man party contains eight players who were members of England’s disastrous World Cup campaign — Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Joe Root, Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson, Chris Jordan, Jos Buttler and Tredwell.
There is no place for Kevin Pietersen, although he still harbours hopes of a return to the international fold. It is understood Pietersen will meet senior members of the ECB hierarchy on his return from the World Cup, where he is working as a BBC pundit. The Surrey management team are likely to meet this week to discuss his return to the county.
Pietersen is willing to give up his deal with Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad in order to play in the County Championship and try to convince the England selectors to recall him.
Speaking on Test Match Special, Pietersen said: “If I can do anything that can help me get back into it for England then it’s something I want to do. I love playing for England. I would love to get county runs. I have expressed my interest in trying to get back into county cricket.
“There are a few things that need tinkering with but I do want to make the right decision. I would have loved to have had it done sooner. I don’t know how it’s going to happen; I just have to wait and see.”
Surrey insist no deal has been agreed but Kumar Sangakkara, their overseas player for the coming summer, expects to be sharing a dressing room with Pietersen.
He told Sky Sports: “I hear KP is coming back which is very exciting. He’s been through tough times that will shape the way he is as a person. I’m sure he’s looking forward to knocking on that [England] door and hopefully getting in.”
Meanwhile, the future of ECB managing director Paul Downton is set to be decided next week when chief executive Tom Harrison meets other board members. Downton and Harrison were due to hold talks this week to discuss the World Cup fiasco.Reuse content