England on Wednesday announced a 30-member training group which will live and train at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton in the lead-up to the 3-Test series against West Indies, starting July 8.
The 30-member training squad, which includes the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes, will begin training behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl from June 23 before playing a 3-day practice match on July 1. The squad for the 1st Test against West Indies will be announced after the practice match, the ECB said in a statement.
While Moeen Ali has returned to the Test set-up after his self-imposed exile from the longest format of the game, regulars, including James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, captain Root and vice-captain Ben Stokes, are all part of the 30-member training group.
Ben Stokes is likely to lead England in the 1st Test as Joe Root and his wife are expecting their second child in the 1st week of July.
England’s 30-member training group: Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonathan Bairstow, Dominic Bess, James Bracey, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Ben Foakes, Lewis Gregory, Keaton Jennings, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Amar Virdi, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.
Commenting on the selection of the group, National Selector Ed Smith, said: “Everyone involved with England is delighted that cricket is returning soon, and that the players are reporting for group training in preparation for the Test series against the West Indies.
“We’d also like to thank all the county coaches who have supported these players over the past few weeks.
“A squad for the first Test will be announced in due course.”
Meanwhile, the West Indies squad arrived in Manchester as early as June 9 after testing negative for Covid-19 before their departure. West Indies players will be in a 3-week quarantine wherein they will simultaneously prepare for the Test series.
The 3-Test series which will be played in a bio-secure environment at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton and the Old Trafford in Manchester. The Test series was initially scheduled to be played in June in Oval, Lord’s and Edgbaston but it was postponed due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The 7-week tour will only be held in two venues which are ‘bio secure’ and have hotels attached to the stadiums or nearby the cricket grounds.
England vs West Indies, Test series schedule
1st Test: 8-12 July, Ageas Bowl, Southampton
2nd Test: 16-20 July, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester
3rd Test: 24-28 July, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester