England’s veteran fast bowler James Anderson has been included in the 17-member Test squad for South Africa tour, named by ECB on Saturday. After recovering from a calf injury, this will be Anderson’s first outing in competitive cricket after nearly a gap of three months.
Along with Anderson, pacer Mark Wood and wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow have also been named in the England squad for the four-Test series.
The 37-year-old Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, last featured during much-hyped Ashes series against Australia. Anderson’s involvement limited to the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston where he bowled only four overs before limping off the ground.
Meanwhile, keeper Bairstow, who was left out from England squad for the New Zealand tour has been recalled. Bairstow has so far played 69 Tests for England and played a crucial role in team’s maiden triumph in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
Fast bowler Wood is also back in the fold after sitting out of the 2-2 Ashes draw with a knee injury and side strain suffered during England’s victorious World Cup campaign.
“It is not predicted that Mark (Wood) will be available for selection for the earliest matches,” said England national selector Ed Smith.
“However, he will travel with the team and continue his rehab work with the medical staff on tour.
“There is no exact date given for his return, but the medical team is working towards him becoming fully available for selection during the tour.” Smith confirmed that off-spinner Moeen Ali remains unavailable after asking to take a break from Test cricket.
The opening match of the four-Test series starts on December 26 at Centurion. Uncapped seamer Saqib Mahmood missed out after being part of the squad in New Zealand.
England Squad: Joe Root (C), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Dominic Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.