Moeen Ali and Sam Curran have been recalled to the England team for this week’s fourth Test against India that starts on Thursday.
Worcestershire all-rounder Ali has been included in the Test team for the first time since March and he has been rewarded for his fine recent form in the County Championship, most notably in last week’s victory over Yorkshire where he recorded a double-century and took eight wickets.
England captain Joe Root believes Ali fully justifies his recall and has done exactly what a player should do when they are dropped from the Test team.
“He’s (Ali) gone back to his county and what you want from international players is for them to go back and prove a point and really stand out, that’s exactly what Moeen has done,” Root said.
Surrey youngster Curran has also returned to the team after being dropped for the Third Test, with Ollie Pope and Chris Woakes, who has a thigh issue, the men to drop out.
Jonny Bairstow will play as a specialist batsman at number four due to the broken finger he sustained during the Third Test, a move that means Jos Buttler will take up the wicket-keeper role.
Root admits the injury for Bairstow is unfortunate and has “opened the door” for Buttler to pick up the gloves on a more regular basis.
“He will be disappointed but, ultimately, we’ve got to do the best thing for this team to win this game,” Root added. “There are no guarantees in international sport and it has opened the door for someone else.”
England hold a 2-1 lead in the five-match series and can take an unassailable lead if they emerge victorious in Southampton.
England team to play fourth Test: Cook, Jennings, Root (c), Bairstow, Stokes, Buttler (wk), Ali, Curran, Rashid, Broad, Anderson.