Jofra Archer has been excluded from the England team for this week’s first Ashes Test against Australia but James Anderson has been passed fit. Archer finished the Three Lions’ successful World Cup campaign as the team’s top wicket-taker and had been expected to make his Test debut at Edgbaston on Thursday.
However, the selectors took the decision to leave the 24-year-old out of their line-up with Chris Woakes, fresh from taking six second-innings wickets against Ireland last week, getting the nod to bowl on his home track. Woakes joins Stuart Broad and Anderson as England’s seamers, the latter being passed fit for the series-opener having recently been sidelined with a calf injury.
Root says the decision to leave Archer out was partly down to him having recently returned from a side strain and wants him firing on all cylinders for the latter Test matches in the series. “Jofra is coming back from a very serious injury,” said Root.
“We looked at the conditions and we made a decision on what we best thought was going to take 20 wickets here and also allows him time to get absolutely ready and fit, and make sure his work-load is ready to go for later in the series if he needs to make an impact.” Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are recalled having been rested for the win over Ireland, while Sam Curran and Olly Stone miss out having been named in the preliminary 14-man squad.
Root also explained why he had been moved up the batting order to number three with Joe Denly dropping to four, claiming he felt more experience was needed higher up the order. “It’s a really good chance for me to cement this spot and make it my own,” said Root. “Having captained this side for a while, I feel like a I can get my head around juggling leading on the field and batting.”