England have selected uncapped pair Alex Hales and Zafar Ansari for the forthcoming Test series against Pakistan.
Both men have been named in a 16-man squad for the three-match series in the United Arab Emirates, which begins next month.
Nottinghamshire opener Hales has been picked ahead of Adam Lyth, the Yorkshire batsman who played all seven Tests this summer but struggled badly for form during the Ashes, while Surrey all-rounder Ansari offers a third spin-bowling option alongside Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid.
The England and Wales Cricket Board also confirmed the appointment of former one-day captain Paul Collingwood and recently retired Sri Lanka great Mahela Jayawardene in consultancy roles.
Jayawardene will work with the Test batsmen until the end of the first Test against Pakistan, while Collingwood returns to the set-up to work with the limited-overs group in the UAE and will also work at next year’s World Twenty20.
Hales will compete with Moeen for the chance to head the innings alongside captain Alastair Cook, and has been selected despite a lean run in the recent Royal London series against Australia.
His county colleague James Taylor fared rather better in those games and has been rewarded with a return to the Test squad, having played his only two matches against South Africa in 2012.
Taylor’s selection proved bad news for Yorkshire’s Gary Ballance, who was dropped two games into the Ashes but had been tipped for a swift comeback.
Elsewhere, Ben Stokes has been rested from both white-ball formats having been an ever-present in all forms this summer.
Reflecting on the new arrivals in the Test squad, national selector James Whitaker said: “The challenge we face against Pakistan will be very different and the composition of our squads reflects the conditions we expect to encounter in the UAE.
“Zafar Ansari’s potential excites us and he will provide strong competition for Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali in the Test squad after enjoying an excellent domestic season with both bat and ball for Surrey.
“Alex Hales has scored heavily for Nottinghamshire in first-class cricket this season, has shown he can play match-winning innings for England in white-ball cricket and fully deserves an opportunity to compete for a place at the top of the order in our Test side.”
Whitaker also explained the decision to take Stokes out of the firing line for the latter part of the Emirates trip.
“In line with our recent decision to rest Joe Root for the Royal London One-Day Series against Australia, we have opted not to include Ben Stokes in our One-Day or T20 International squads,” he said.
“Ben has been an outstanding performer for England this summer and this decision reflects a desire to manage his workload across a busy winter period in all three formats of the game. He will come back into contention for the white-ball format when we consider the make-up of our squads for the tour of South Africa later in the year.”
The backroom additions bear the fingerprints of ECB managing director Andrew Strauss.
Having made the decision to sack Peter Moores and install Trevor Bayliss as head coach earlier this year, he has once again moved to bolster the support team.
His long-time team-mate Collingwood previously assisted Ashley Giles at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh and always appeared likely to return in some capacity, but Jayawardene represents a major coup.
The 38-year-old retired in August with an enormous legacy in Sri Lankan cricket, having scored 11,814 runs in 149 Tests.
His primary task will be to impart his knowledge of sub-continental conditions and batting against spin on England’s players.
Strauss said: “We are delighted that Mahela and Paul will be joining the England management team, supporting our existing specialist coaches in this area.
“Both will bring a vast wealth of cricketing knowledge and expertise to the team, and in Mahela’s case, extensive experience of batting in the sub-continent which will be invaluable as part of our wider preparations for the UAE tour.”
ENGLAND SQUADS TO FACE PAKISTAN
England squads to face Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates:
A Cook (captain, Essex), M Ali (Worcestershire), J Anderson (Lancashire), Z Ansari (Surrey), J Bairstow (Yorkshire, wkt), I Bell (Warwickshire), S Broad (Nottinghamshire), J Buttler (Lancashire, wkt), S Finn (Middlesex), A Hales (Nottinghamshire), L Plunkett (Yorkshire), A Rashid (Yorkshire), J Root (vc, Yorkshire), B Stokes (Durham), J Taylor (Nottinghamshire), M Wood (Durham).
E Morgan (captain, Middlesex), M Ali (Worcestershire), J Bairstow (Yorkshire), S Billings (Kent), J Buttler (Lancashire, wkt), S Finn (Middlesex), A Hales (Nottinghamshire), A Rashid (Yorkshire), J Root (Yorkshire), J Roy (Surrey), J Taylor (Nottinghamshire), R Topley (Essex), D Willey (Northamptonshire), C Woakes (Warwickshire), W Wood (Durham)
E Morgan (captain, Middlesex), M Ali (Worcestershire), S Billings (Kent), J Buttler (Lancashire, wkt), A Hales (Nottinghamshire), C Jordan (Sussex), S Parry (Lancashire), A Rashid (Yorkshire), J Root (Yorkshire), J Roy (Surrey), R Topley (Essex), J Vince (Hampshire), D Willey (Northamptonshire), C Woakes (Warwickshire), M Wood (Durham)
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