England name two debutants in team for first West Indies Test as James Anderson prepares for final game

James Anderson is preparing to play his final Test

James Anderson is preparing to play his final Test (Picture: Getty)

Fast bowler Gus Atkinson and wicketkeeper-batter Jamie Smith will make their Test debuts alongside retiring James Anderson in England’s series opener against West Indies at Lord’s.

Anderson, 41, will win his 188th and final Test cap this week as England begin a three-match series against the Windies at the Home of Cricket.

The legendary bowler was told earlier in the year that England were looking to the future ahead of next summer’s home series against India and the subsequent Ashes tour in Australia.

England’s attack against West Indies will include the country’s all-time leading wicket-taker and Test debutant Atkinson, who was part of the squad that toured India earlier this year but did not play.

Atkinson, who is one of the quickest bowlers in England, has taken 14 wickets in five red-ball matches for County Championship leaders Surrey this season.

Warwickshire seamer Chris Woakes also returns to the England team for the first time since being named as Player of the Series following last summer’s drawn Ashes series.

Somerset’s Shoaib Bashir will play his first Test match in England after debuting in India and beating Jack Leach to a place in the squad for the first two matches against West Indies.

Surrey’s Jamie Smith will keep wicket for England (Picture: Getty)

Debutant Smith will keep wicket after edging out Surrey team-mate Ben Foakes and Ben Stokes’ Durham team-mate Ollie Robinson and Surrey’ Ben Foakes. Smith averages over 56 in red-ball cricket this summer.

Anderson’s preparations for his final Test included taking 7-35 for Lancashire against Nottinghamshire in the County Championship last week.

The veteran feels he is bowling as well as he ever has but admits he ‘didn’t really have a choice’ to make the upcoming Test his final one.

‘I knew it had to end at some point, whether it’s now or a year or two years,’ he said. The fact that it’s now is just something that I’ve got to deal with and accept.

‘I wouldn’t say it was a surprise, because when the three big dogs invited me to a hotel in Manchester for a chat I didn’t think it was just a normal appraisal.

‘I had a suspicion that that was going to be the case. I think they were surprised at how calm I was and I was probably surprised at my reaction. I wasn’t overly emotional or angry about it.

‘I saw their point of view and appreciated them taking the time to lay it out for me. Since then I’ve come to terms with it and made peace with that decision. I’m just looking forward to one more game and then see what’s ahead.’

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Source:: Metro


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