England make ‘seriously tough decision’ over Jonny Bairstow ahead of Ashes

Jonny Bairstow will make his comeback for Yorkshire’s second XI on Tuesday (John Walton/PA)

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Jofra Archer has been ruled out for the Ashes, but Jonny Bairstow is poised to make a highly-anticipated England return.

The Yorkshireman is set to regain the gloves for the first time since 2021, with Ben Foakes left out of the first Test of the summer against Ireland at Lord’s on 1 June.

The biggest blow for England was also the most expected. Few thought Archer would be fit enough to play, although the hopes were there after he starred with the ball during the last Ashes on home soil in 2019.

Archer has been ruled out for the rest of the summer after he suffered a recurrence of a stress fracture to his right elbow and will spend time with the England and Sussex medical teams to work on his injury management. The fears will remain however, over whether he will ever take the field for England again.

James Anderson has been included in the 15-man squad, despite sustaining a mild strain to his right groin while playing for Lancashire, which forced him to leave the field on the second day of Lancashire’s County Championship match with Sussex.


Chris Woakes returns to the squad for the first time since March 2022, and if selected will play his first Test appearance in England since August 2020.

Fast-bowler Mark Wood has also returned to the squad, with Ollie Pope officially confirmed as England vice-captain.

“We are looking forward to the summer ahead and getting into the swing of things, starting with a good test against Ireland,” England and Wales Cricket Board managing director for men’s cricket, Rob Key said.

“It was a seriously tough decision to leave Ben Foakes out of the squad. He has been excellent for England in the last year, but Jonny Bairstow is one of the best players in the world whose performances last summer epitomised what we are about.

“It has been a frustrating and upsetting period for Jofra Archer. He was making good progress until a recurrence of the elbow injury, which kept him out for an extended period previously. We wish him the best of luck with his recovery. I’m sure we will see Jofra back to his best and winning games for England, whatever the format. Hopefully, sooner rather than later.

“I would like to wish the players every success, especially those returning after some time away.”

Dan Lawrence earned a recall to the Test squad for the first time since March 2022, with a chance to add to his 11 caps, but Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have kept their faith in opener Zak Crawley.

Crawley hit 170 against Essex and was backed up by two fifties, at an average of 38, but his form for England has come under criticism, leading him to defend his technique ahead of the County Championship season.

England Men’s Test Squad:

Ben Stokes (Durham) Captain

James Anderson (Lancashire)

Jonathan Bairstow (Yorkshire)

Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire)

Harry Brook (Yorkshire)

Zak Crawley (Kent)

Ben Duckett (Nottinghamshire)

Dan Lawrence (Essex)

Jack Leach (Somerset)

Ollie Pope (Surrey)

Matthew Potts (Durham)

Ollie Robinson (Sussex)

Joe Root (Yorkshire)

Chris Woakes (Warwickshire)


Mark Wood (Durham)

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