JOFRA ARCHER has been included in the England squad for the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston next Thursday.
Archer is named in a Test squad for the first time after playing a starring role in the recent victorious World Cup campaign for England.
The Sussex bowler was given time off following the dramatic super over win against New Zealand to recover from a side injury he picked up during the campaign.
Archer made his first appearance since the final in a Vitality Blast match for his county against Surrey on Friday at Hove.
He took two wickets in his four overs as Sussex and Surrey played out a dramatic tie on the south coast.
Archer has revealed he is now fully fit after playing through the pain barrier during the World Cup.
“It was pretty excruciating,” he said.
“I’m fortunate it’s settled quickly.
“It was pretty bad. I couldn’t do it without painkillers, which was from the Afghanistan game onwards.
“I couldn’t get a week’s rest in during the tournament because of how close the games were. I only ever needed a week to 10 days.”
England have kept faith with Rory Burns at the top of the order despite two single-figure scores in the one-off Test victory against Ireland at Lord’s this week.
Burns has struggled for Surrey this season compared to his usually high standards in the County Championship.
His county team-mate Jason Roy is set to continue alongside him at the top of the order after his fluent 72 against Ireland, with Joe Denly at three.
World Cup heroes Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler have returned to the squad after having a couple of weeks rest.
Stokes has been reinstated as the Test vice-captain for the series.
Chris Woakes’ six-fer versus Ireland looks set to give some selection headaches.
With Anderson a certainty to play if fit, captain Joe Root and head coach Trevor Bayliss will most likely have to pick three out of Archer, Woakes, Stuart Broad and Sam Curran.
Olly Stone impressed on debut this week but is unlikely to get the nod on Thursday.
Mooen Ali is the only spin bowler in the squad, with Jack Leach left out despite hitting a career-best 92 as nightwatchman at Lord’s.
On the announcement, National Selector Ed Smith said: “Though it is unusual to select a squad of 14 for a home Test, there are compelling reasons to do so here.
“Several bowlers are recovering from injuries or niggles.
“In addition, some bowlers who played in the World Cup are being closely monitored to assess their preparation for Test match cricket.
“The wider circumstances – a successful home World Cup campaign followed so quickly by a home Ashes series – are unprecedented.
“It feels sensible to select an expanded squad and leave a number of bowling options open for the final team selection.”
Joe Root (captain)