England have named a 16-man squad for their upcoming Test series in India and the selectors have included some surprise additions.
With the pitches in the sub-continent known to turn, uncapped spin duo Shoaib Bashir and Tom Hartley have been selected in the touring party.
There is also a chance for Surrey paceman Gus Atkinson, who has recently been part of the white-ball set up, to show what he can do in the five-day format.
The 20-year-old Shoaib Bashir is the standout name in the England squad, with the Somerset off-spinner having played just six first-class matches to date.
Despite his inexperience, the selectors clearly feel Bashir has the ability to impress on the international stage – after claiming 10 wickets in his first-class appearances.
Bashir – who won the T20 Blast with Somerset - has been part of the England Lions training camp and will now take the big step into the senior team.
He'll be joined in the squad by left-arm spinner Tom Hartley, with the 24-year-old catching the eye during his time with Lancashire.
There are also recalls for 19-year-old Rehan Ahmed, who made his Test debut against Pakistan in 2022, and the experienced Jack Leach – who missed the Ashes series due to injury.
Former captain Joe Root is another part-time spin option, while four seam bowlers have also been included in the 16-man party.
Gus Atkinson is given his first chance on the Test stage, with the Surrey man joined by James Anderson, Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson. England – 12/5 to win the 2025/26 Ashes series – will also hope that Ben Stokes can rejoin the bowling ranks after his recent knee surgery.
As well as having a fully fit skipper, England will see their vice-captain return to the fold with Ollie Pope recovering from his dislocated shoulder.
The Surrey batter, who averages 34.45 at Test level, toured India back in 2021 and struggled, failing to score more than 34 runs in his eight innings.
Although Jonny Bairstow keeps his place in the squad, wicketkeeper Ben Foakes has been selected having been dropped for the home Ashes series.
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