PBKS star dropped from England's Test squad vs West Indies

England announced their 14-man squad for the three-match Test series against the West Indies starting next month.
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England announced their 14-man squad for the first two matches of the three-match Test series against the West Indies starting next month. The team is looking for the future and has made the selections with an eye on the away Ashes next year.

However, the team has also dropped a few notable players from the squad, with a few being main absentees. Jonny Bairstow, the star batter of England, has been dropped from the Test team after a prolonged period of inconsistency.

Bairstow has been in terrible form across formats and endured a tough away series against India earlier this year. Overall, he has 238 runs at an average of 23.80 without any fifty or century, with the best of 39, in 2024.

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Even in the T20 World Cup 2024, Bairstow couldn’t fire as expected, leading to England’s defeat in the semifinal against India. He hasn’t had a great time since last year, for his stay was painful at times, where he struggled for fluency and registered a string of low scores across formats.

Dillon Pennington and Jamie Smith get their maiden call-up

Dillon Pennington, the 25-year-old pacer from Nottinghamshire, has received his maiden call-up in England’s Test squad. He was exceptional in the County Championship Division One 2024, snaring 29 wickets at an average of 23.03 and a 41.69 strike rate in seven matches, including one four-fer and a five-fer.

Similarly, Jamie Smith has been impressive in the Championship, scoring 507 runs at an average of 50.70 and a strike rate of 76.93 in ten innings. He will make his Test debut against the West Indies in the first game.

The team has adopted a gung-ho approach in Test cricket under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, and Smith fits perfectly into that approach. Jamie is a hard hitter and can score quickly in red-ball cricket, a feature that earned him ample fame in County cricket.

With Jonny Bairstow sidelined, Jamie Smith seems a long-term investment for England, and his career will start against the West Indies. He can be the game-changer and shift the momentum in his team’s favour within a few balls.

England's squad for the first two Tests vs West Indies: Ben Stokes (c), James Anderson (first Test only), Gus Atkinson, Shoaib Bashir, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Dillon Pennington, Ollie Pope, Matthew Potts, Joe Root, Jamie Smith, Chris Woakes

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