Ballance returns for England as Roland-Jones replaces Anderson


The injured James Anderson has been omitted from England's squad for the first Test against Pakistan at Lord's, prompting a call-up for Toby Roland-Jones of Middlesex.

Anderson will miss the opening match of the four-Test series, which starts next Thursday, due to stress fractures in his right shoulder blade.

Roland-Jones, 28, is yet to make his Test debut but has plenty of experience in County Cricket, taking 278 wickets in 75 first-class matches, at an average of 25.17.

"With an injury to James Anderson, there is an opportunity for Toby Roland-Jones, who has been a consistent performer in the County Championship over the last few years and deserves his chance," national selector James Whitaker said in a statement.

It remains to be seen if Roland-Jones will feature ahead of Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Steven Finn and Jake Ball.

Batsman Gary Ballance, who has not played Test cricket since the Ashes defeat to Australia at Lord's in 2015, is back in the squad, but Ben Stokes, who suffered a knee injury in the series opening win over Sri Lanka in May, misses out.

Of Ballance, Whitaker said: "He has been in recent form with the bat for Yorkshire in the Championship. 

"Gary is mentally strong and we feel that he will add quality and experience to England's middle-order," he said, in an indication James Vince may be used at number three.

Jos Buttler was also overlooked, leaving Jonny Bairstow to serve as wicket-keeper batsman. Nick Compton, who struggled badly against Sri Lanka, has taken a break from competitive cricket.


England squad:

Alastair Cook (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Gary Ballance, Jake Ball, Stuart Broad, Steven Finn, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Toby Roland-Jones, James Vince, Chris Woakes.