SIX Yorkshire players have been named in England’s Test squad to tour the West Indies.
Joe Root, Gary Ballance, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Adam Lyth and Jonny Bairstow have been included as England look to get back on track following their World Cup humiliation.
The inclusions of batsmen Root and Ballance are no surprise – nor, to a lesser extent, that of pace bowler Plunkett, who returned to Test cricket last summer after a seven-year absence only to sustain an ankle injury that ruled him out from mid-season.
But the selections of batsman Lyth, leg-spinner Rashid and batsman/wicketkeeper Bairstow are the striking ones from a Yorkshire point of view, with those players having earned deserved call-ups after their impressive form in recent months.
Bairstow is back in the Test fold 14 months after his last appearance on the ill-fated 2013-14 Ashes tour.
The 25-year-old will be hoping for the opportunity to add to his tally of 14 caps, the first of them gained against the West Indies at Lord’s in 2012.
Neither Lyth nor Rashid have played Test cricket, although Rashid has played five one-day internationals and five Twenty20 internationals for his country – all in 2009.
Rashid is a much more mature cricketer than he was back then and has developed into a genuine all-rounder – arguably a batsman who bowls rather than the other way around.
Lyth has not played for the full England side in any format – only for the England Lions – and has been rewarded for an outstanding summer in which he was Yorkshire’s leading run-scorer as the club won the County Championship title.
The left-handed opener also impressed on the Lions’ tour to South Africa and has got the nod over strong contenders such as Yorkshire team-mate Alex Lees.
England play three Tests in the West Indies at Antigua (April 13-17), St George’s (April 21-25) and Barbados (May 1-5).
They begin a two-Test series at home to New Zealand on May 21 before the main feast of the summer starts in early July – the Ashes.
Away from the Yorkshire contingent, Jonathan Trott was also named in the squad for the first time since having to leave the 2013-14 Ashes with a stress-related problem.
Trott, who flew home after the opening defeat in Brisbane 16 months ago, is also recalled in the 16-man touring party.
Trott pressed his claims for a recall with encouraging performances on the Lions’ tour of South Africa this winter.
Trott, who was captain, notably hit an unbeaten double-century against South Africa A in Paarl as he confirmed the return to form he demonstrated for Warwickshire in the second half of last summer.
England squad: AN Cook (Captain, Essex), IJL Trott (Warwickshire), A Lyth (Yorkshire), GS Ballance (Yorkshire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), JE Root (Yorkshire), JC Buttler (wkt, Lancashire), JM Bairstow (wkt, Yorkshire), BA Stokes (Durham), AU Rashid (Yorkshire), JC Tredwell (Kent), LE Plunkett (Yorkshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), CJ Jordan (Sussex), JM Anderson (Lancashire), MA Wood (Durham).