England has called on the service of two uncapped players, naming them in their 12-man squad in their first Test match against Sri Lanka to be held in Headingley next week.
James Vince and Jake Ball, both 25 years old are set to feature in the Investec Test from 19 to 23 May.
James Vince has five limited-overs caps and was part of the England squad that reached the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in India last month. He comes into the team in place of the retired James Taylor, taking number five ahead of Ian Bell and Gary Ballance, who were dropped last year.
“It’s something I’ve been aiming for since I was a little kid really,” said Vince. “Definitely when I was growing up, playing for England in a Test was still the number one. I’ve had the experience of the T20s in Dubai against Pakistan, when it was a good feeling being able to contribute to the team.”
Along with the Hampshire batsman James Vince, Ball’s rise has been sharp. The 25-year-old fast bowler impressed with England Lions over the winter and has started the season in rich form with 19 wickets in his side’s first four County Championship matches.
His breakthrough performance came at Trent Bridge against Yorkshire, earning four wickets in the champions’ first innings including Test batsmen Adam Lyth, Joe Root and Gary Ballance.
Stuart Broad, world number one bowler in Test Cricket and Ball’s county colleague, was all praise for his teammate’s performance and growth.
“Jake is a player I’ve seen a lot of and he’s developed so quickly,” said Broad. “He is similar to me in height and what he tries to do with the ball. He gets good pace, moves the ball both away and into the right-hander, and away from the left-handers. The selectors have done well to pick a guy in form.”
Meanwhile, Alex Hale would stay on to play as England captain Alastair Cook’s opening partner, just as Nick Compton keeps his place as England’s number three. In addition, pace bowler Steven Finn has been confirmed fit and will be likely to feature.