Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

England vs. Pakistan: Jos Buttler in squad for first Test

England vs. Pakistan: Jos Buttler in squad for first Test

Buttler returns to the squad for the first time since December 2016 after a series of impressive knocks in the Indian Premier League, including a record-equalling fifth consecutive half-century for the Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.

England have recalled batsman Jos Buttler and called up uncapped off-spinner Dominic Bess for the first Test against Pakistan starting next week.

Buttler is now playing for the Rajasthan Royals in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League, where his last three scores have been 95, 94 and 81.

Buttler has played 18 Tests for England, averaging 31.36 with the bat and scoring six fifties.

Nor has Buttler's Test career, now standing at 18 matches with an average of 31.36, yet reached the same heights as his limited-overs exploits where is regarded as one of the best players in the world. But Smith wants Jonny Bairstow to retain the Test gloves.

But he has not played first-class cricket for Lancashire, his English county, since the end of last season.

Smith, who met his fellow selectors Mick Newell and Angus Fraser, the head coach, Trevor Bayliss, and the Test captain, Joe Root, earlier on Tuesday, said: "Jos Buttler is an outstanding talent". The selection panel feels that it is the ideal moment to reintroduce Jos to Test cricket where he has already enjoyed some success. We felt that a player of his unique gifts - as a destructive batsman, fantastic competitive presence, dynamic athlete, someone who has leadership skills innate in him, who is playing with such confidence and flair - this was the right time'.

Bess, also a more than capable batsman, is preferred ahead of Moeen Ali and owes his place to the misfortune of his Somerset team-mate Jack Leach, who broke a thumb in the nets on Monday.

He has featured in just 16 first-class matches but new selector Ed Smith is confident Bess has shown enough to suggest he can make the step up.

"Dom Bess has made an excellent start to his first-class career", Smith said. With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad will lead the attack while Mark Wood and Chris Woakes will fight it out for the third seam bowling spot. "Dom's strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case".

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