Birmingham : England captain Ben Stokes on Thursday announced that veteran fast bowler James Anderson will return to the playing eleven for the rescheduled fifth Test against India at Edgbaston, starting from Friday.
Anderson, who had missed England’s third Test against New Zealand due to a left ankle injury, returns to the side in place of fellow pacer Jamie Overton, who had figures of 1/85 & 1/61 with his right-arm pace apart from a fine 97 with the bat at number eight in the first innings.
“Jamie got his opportunity to show what he can do on the cricket field. He gave the best account possible of himself. We see a bright and long future for him with England going forward.
It must be very disappointing for him but he can walk away knowing he’s done everything possible to have a good career for England” said Stokes in the pre-match press conference.
Stokes also said that wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings retained his place in the playing eleven after Ben Foakes failed to make a full recovery from a stiff back and Covid-19 positive result.
Billings, who made his Test debut against Australia in a day-night Ashes Test at Hobart, was rushed mid-way in the victorious Headingley Test after Foakes tested positive for Covid-19 and will now keep wickets for Friday’s match against India.
“Ben Foakes is our keeper going forward. We want Jonny Bairstow to concentrate on doing what he’s doing with the bat. Unfortunately, Foakesy hasn’t recovered as well as we’d have liked him to. So Sam is going to stay in the team and keep.”
“(Foakes) hasn’t really recovered from last week and doesn’t feel like he could give the best account of himself this week. We took the decision out of his hands and said ‘get yourself better,” added Stokes.India lead the five-match series 2-1, having registered famous victories at Lord’s (by 151 runs) and The Oval (157 runs) last year.
While they will be going without K.L Rahul, who just had successful surgery after being ruled out due to a right groin injury, the visitors are fretting over Rohit Sharma’s availability for the much-anticipated Test due to being infected with Covid-19.
England Playing XI: Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Ollie Pope, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes (captain), Sam Billings (wicketkeeper), Matthew Potts, Stuart Broad, Jack Leach and James Anderson