London: Jonathan Trott was on Wednesday named in the England Test squad for the first time since having to withdraw from the 2013-14 Ashes series with a stress-related condition.
The South Africa-born batsman, 34, was recalled by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) as part of a 16-man party for a three-Test tour of the West Indies starting next month. "Jonathan Trott produced some outstanding performances for Warwickshire last summer, scoring five centuries, and also made an unbeaten double-hundred during the recent successful England Lions tour," said national selector James Whitaker in a statement.
"He is a player of proven international pedigree, and we are delighted to welcome him back into the squad." All-rounder Ben Stokes was also included, along with the uncapped trio of Durham fast bowler Mark Wood, Yorkshire spinner Adil Rashid and Yorkshire opening batsman Adam Lyth. Captain Alastair Cook returns as well, having been left out of the 50-over squad for the ongoing Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, where England crashed out in the first round.
Lyth is likely to compete with Trott for the right to open the batting alongside Cook after Sam Robson was dropped. Trott flew home from Brisbane 16 months ago and had to abort an attempted return to first-class cricket last year before flourishing with Warwickshire in the second half of the 2014 season.
It earned him a call-up for the second-string England Lions' tour of South Africa and he impressed as captain on his return to his native country, scoring an unbeaten double-century against South Africa A in Paarl. Eight of the players from the World Cup squad retained their places, but injured pair Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes were not included as they recover from respective side and foot problems.
Pietersen return 'unlikely'
"This series marks the start of a busy period of Test Match cricket for the England team, and I am sure that Alastair and the players will all be keen to build on the success they enjoyed last summer against India," Whitaker added. "Adam, Adil and Mark are all players who have performed impressively over the last 12 months -- and they will now have an opportunity to push for a regular place in the Test side's starting line-up."
Lancashire paceman James Anderson stands to win his 100th Test cap in the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, which starts on April 13. England, knocked out of the World Cup by Bangladesh last week, play host to New Zealand in May and June before resuming hostilities with Australia in a home Ashes series.
Meanwhile, Whitaker played down the likelihood of Kevin Pietersen making an England comeback after he expressed a willingness to resume playing county cricket with a view to making a return to the international fold. "That's very much Kevin's decision and, of course, we respect that," Whitaker told Sky Sports News.
"But over the last 12 months, I think we have been successfully rebuilding our Test team and over the last few days, he wasn't party to any discussion. He's not part of our plans." Cook also played down the chances of Pietersen making a comeback, telling the Daily Telegraph it was "very unlikely".
Pietersen, 34, was axed by the ECB a year ago and subsequently released an autobiography in which he alleged that a bullying culture had taken hold in the England changing room.
England squad: Alastair Cook (capt), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan, Adam Lyth, Liam Plunkett, Joe Root, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, James Tredwell, Jonathan Trott, Mark Wood England itinerary (date, match, location): April 6-7 2-day warm-up St Kitts April 8-9 2-day warm-up St Kitts April 13-17 1st Test Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua April 21-25 2nd Test Grenada National Stadium, Grenada May 1-5 3rd Test Kensington Oval, Barbados
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