England’s starting XI for first Test against West Indies announced as James Anderson prepares to play final match

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On Monday, July 8, England announced their starting XI for the first Test match against the West Indies. England and the West Indies will play three Test matches against each other this month, with the first Test match taking place on July 10 at Lord’s.

The hosts have decided to include two players who have not played for the national team in their starting XI for the series – pacer Gus Atkinson and wicketkeeper-batsman Jamie Smith. With Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes ruled out of the Test squad, Smith’s debut was quite expected. Unlike Smith, Atkinson has represented England in other formats. He has played 9 ODIs and 3 T20Is so far.

Of the 14-member squad announced for the first Test match of the series, Dan Lawrence, Dillon Pennington and Matthew Potts were not included. England decided to pick Atkinson, Chris Woakes and James Anderson as the pace players for the match, ahead of Pennington and Potts.

Pennington and Potts are likely to play the next Test match as Anderson will retire after the first match of the series. The match will also be Woakes’ first Test match since last year’s Ashes. Earlier this year, he had taken a break from the game after his father passed away.

Spinner Shoaib Bashir has also found a place in the starting XI. The youngster had made his Test debut during the tour of India earlier this year. Harry Brook has also returned to the Test squad after missing the tour of India. Brook was named in the squad but withdrew to be with his ailing grandmother, who passed away in March.

England’s starting XI for their first Test against the West Indies:

1. Zak Crawley 2. Ben Duckett 3. Ollie Pope 4. Joe Root 5. Harry Brook 6. Ben Stokes (centre) 7. Jamie Smith 8. Chris Woakes 9. Gus Atkinson 10. Shoaib Bashir 11. James Anderson

England will be looking to bounce back in the upcoming series after their poor showing against India earlier this year. The Ben Stokes-led side had started the series with a memorable win before India defeated them in the next four Tests. England have not won a Test series since 2023 and would be desperate to beat West Indies in the upcoming series.