WORCESTERSHIRE and Warwickshire players feature in the behind closed doors training group named by England ahead of the first Test against West Indies.
England national cricket selectors, with input from performance personnel and coaches, have named a 30-strong group who will go into camp at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday ahead of the first Test against the West Indies at the Hampshire venue starting on Wednesday, July 8.
The group, along with a separate red-ball management team, will live, prepare and train on-site at the Ageas Bowl.
On Wednesday, July 1 the players will participate in a three-day practice match. After this match, the squad for the first Test will be selected.
Worcestershire all-rounder Moeen Ali is back in the fold as he prepares to make his return to Test cricket and also in the 30-man squad are Warwickshire batsman Dom Sibley and seamers Olly Stone and Chris Woakes.
Commenting on the selection of the group, national selector Ed Smith said: “Everyone involved with England is delighted that cricket is returning soon and that the players are reporting for group training in preparation for the Test series against the West Indies.
“We’d also like to thank all the county coaches who have supported these players over the past few weeks.
“A squad for the first Test will be announced in due course.”
The England and Wales Cricket Board have also confirmed the red-ball coaching team for the three-match Test series.
Graham Thorpe will support head coach Chris Silverwood in his role as assistant coach and specialise on batting.
Three coaches from the county game have been seconded. Lancashire head coach Glen Chapple will work closely with Silverwood as bowling coach and Gloucestershire’s head coach Richard Dawson, who has had experience coaching the England Lions on their successful tour of Australia earlier this year, will take control of the spin bowlers.
Working alongside Thorpe with the batsmen will be Kent’s head Ccach Matthew Walker. Former Nottinghamshire and England wicketkeeper Chris Read will join the management team as wicketkeeping consultant and the ECB’s national lead fielding coach Carl Hopkinson makes up the coaching group.
England men’s assistant coach Paul Collingwood will take charge of England’s ODI team later in the summer, when it is hoped Ireland will tour in a three-match Royal London ODI series, subject to those fixtures being confirmed.
ECB performance director Mo Bobat added: “The support that we’ve received from counties during our return to training phase so far has been excellent and it’s great to be able to continue with this collaborative approach as we move into a ‘behind closed doors’ training environment.
“As is the case in the current climate, things have progressed quickly and we are very grateful to counties for allowing us to second their coaches to support our Test preparation. The larger group of players will certainly keep them busy.
“Involving Glen Chapple, Richard Dawson and Matt Walker adds significant leadership strength to our coaching team, as well as their obvious technical and tactical knowledge. Similarly, Chris Read’s vast experience at the highest level will no doubt add value.
“Both Glen (Chapple) and Richard (Dawson) were involved in winter Lions activity, so it’s nice for them and the players to build on effective coaching relationships and it’s also a real positive for our domestic game that we can expose a greater number of our coaches to international cricket.
“A huge amount of work has taken place behind the scenes to get us to this point and it’s now over to Chris Silverwood and his management team to support the players with their final preparations for what will be a historical series.”
Three-match Test Series: 1st Test: England v West Indies, July 8-12, Ageas Bowl, Southampton; 2nd Test: England v West Indies, July 16-20, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester; 3rd Test: England v West Indies, July 24-28, Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester.