England have included Jos Buttler and Jack Leach in their 16-member squad for the fifth and final Test against India at Old Trafford, Manchester, beginning Friday, September 10. The hosts currently trail 1-2 in the series, having gone down by 157 runs in the fourth Test at The Oval.
Jos Buttler, who had missed the fourth Test to attend the birth of his second child - a daughter, Margot - has been named in England’s 16-member squad for the fifth Test. Jack Leach returns as well after he was released to play for Somerset after the first two Tests, at Trent Bridge and Lord’s respectively, during which he was on the sidelines.
Leach’s inclusion opens up the possibility of him replacing Moeen Ali in the XI, after the latter didn’t have the best of outings at The Oval. There’s a chance of a two-spinners attack too, considering the hot forecast and conditions that could assist the slower bowlers in Manchester.
England however, have a tough call to make on Buttler, after Ollie Pope - his replacement in the fourth Test - returned with a sublime 81 in the first innings. Head coach Chris Silverwood reflected on the decision he has to make, alongside skipper Joe Root.
"Jos will be available for Old Trafford and yes there will be a decision that has to be made, so we'll be making that over the next few days," Silverwood said. "I'm going to keep my thoughts to myself for the moment, I'm going to have a sleep on it and then I can obviously make decisions from there. Myself and Joe can have a talk and make a decision."
James Anderson and Ollie Robinson have been leading the fast-bowling department throughout the series, and the heavy workload was evident during India’s second innings at The Oval. While Anderson is still likely to play at his home ground, Silverwood addressed the importance of workload management for the 39-year-old and further hinted at Mark Wood making a possible return.
"It'll be a discussion that he and I will have together," Silverwood said. "He will have input into that, without a shadow of a doubt. James knows his own body. We have got a bit of time now between this game and the next one.
“I know what it's like, he won't want to miss any cricket. We have to make sure we look after him. Although there is a gap between the final Test and what's in front of him. He's certainly someone I want to make sure is looked after."
"He (Mark Wood) is certainly someone who comes back into contention. We have got some aching bodies, I'm not going to deny that, so we obviously have to keep an eye on that. He could come back and if he does, he will obviously add that pace for us. If the pitch is abrasive as it usually is at Old Trafford there should be reverse swing. He's certainly back in contention."
England squad for fifth Test: Joe Root (c), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.