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England announce squad for first two South Africa Tests, fit-again Robinson returns

London, Aug 2 (IANS) England on Tuesday announced a 14-member squad for the first two Tests of the three-match series against South Africa at home with fit-again Ollie Robinson making his comeback.

Robinson returned to the squad for the first time since the tour of the West Indies in March. A back injury had kept the pacer on the sidelines but he recently featured for Sussex in the County Championship. The 28-year old replaces Jamie Overton in the 14-man squad that took on India last month in the postponed fifth Test match.

Ben Foakes is also a part of the squad after missing the fifth Test against India. The wicket-keeper batter caught Covid-19 during the final Test against New Zealand and failed to recover in time for the rescheduled Test against India.

The three-match Test series will be a part of the ICC Men’s World Test Championship 2021-23 cycle. South Africa are currently on top of the table with a point percentage of 71.43 while England are 7th with 33.33 percentage.

Speaking on the squad selection, ECB Men’s Performance Director, Mo Bobat said, “After an excellent start to the summer under Brendon McCullum and Ben Stokes, we’re looking forward to an exciting Test series against a strong South Africa side.

“The selectors have picked a squad for the first two Tests at Lord’s and Emirates Old Trafford with continuity in mind. It’s good to get Ollie Robinson back in the mix after his recent injury. He will continue his progress by playing for the Lions against South Africa in a four-day match at Canterbury next week,” he added.

England have been on a hot streak since Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have taken over the reins as the captain and head coach of the Test team. The series against South Africa will be yet another test for the ‘Bazball’ approach.

Prior to the Tests, the tourists will first take on England Lions in a four-day game, starting from August 9. The first Test will kick off at Lord’s on August 17 followed by two more Tests.

Squad: Ben Stokes (captain), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Craig Overton, Matthew Potts, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root.

–IANS

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