ENGLAND Test captain Joe Root has announced opening batsman Mark Stoneman will make his debut against West Indies at Edgbaston today.
Warwickshire all-rounder Chris Woakes and 20-year-old leg break bowler Mason Crane, both named in a 13-man squad, are left out for the first pink ball day-night Test in this country.
Pace bowler Toby Roland-Jones keeps his place in Root’s side with Surrey opener Stoneman becoming the latest choice to partner Alastair Cook at the top of the innings.
Root stressed that 28-year-old Woakes needs more recovery time.
Stoneman is the 12th new opening partner England have picked alongside Alastair Cook since the retirement of Andrew Strauss five years ago. At 30, he is curiously long in the tooth for a debutant too.
“He’s obviously got a huge amount of runs under his belt, this season in particular, and in previous seasons as well. He’s got a well-rounded game, he’s a bit more experienced having played a lot of county cricket and I’m excited to see him hopefully take his opportunity,” Root said.
When asked how long Cook’s latest partner will be given in England colours, Root added: “Who knows? Ideally you want someone to come in and set the world alight and their career move forward from there.”
England face Australia this winter Down Under as they contest the latest edition of the Ashes, and Root said it was important to successfully fill the troublesome opening slot before that series begins.