• England

Buttler replaces Prior as Cook remains England captain

ESPNcricinfo staff
July 22, 2014
Alastair Cook will still be England captain for the third Test with India © PA Photos

England have included Jos Buttler in their 13-man squad for the third Test against India, confirming him as the successor to Matt Prior behind the stumps. Simon Kerrigan, the Lancashire spinner, has also been left out but the squad is otherwise unchanged with Alastair Cook retaining the captaincy.

A delay to the announcement had led to speculation about whether Alastair Cook would continue as captain - despite asserting he would not give up the role on Monday - but the ECB release eventually contained no surprises.

Prior chose to stand down from international cricket and work on returning to fitness after England's damaging defeat at Lord's, accepting that he may have played his last Test. Buttler, 23 and England's regular limited-overs wicketkeeper, was called up as cover for Prior before the first India Test and is now in line for a debut at the Ageas Bowl.

Jos Buttler replaces the injured Matt Prior © Getty Images

There were calls for Buttler to be promoted after he scored the fastest ODI century by an England player, against Sri Lanka in May, although Cook said at the time he was not ready for the step up to Tests. Buttler averages 33.32 in first-class cricket but has been in good form for his new county, Lancashire, with one century and five fifties so far this season.

Ben Stokes might be considered the player whose position is most at risk, after making three consecutive ducks - to go with seven wickets at 33.14 - in two Tests. Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes provide other all-round options in the squad.

Stokes' bowling average is actually better than his senior colleagues, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Liam Plunkett, and England have previously indicated that some rotation may be necessary during the series. Anderson is to face a Level 3 disciplinary charge at the conclusion of the third Test, which could see him banned for the final two matches.

"The result of the second Investec Test at Lord's was very disappointing," James Whitaker, the national selector, said. "One or two of our players had encouraging performances, however, it is vital that the squad learns quickly and arrives in Southampton this week refreshed and ready to perform well in what will no doubt be another tough Test match.

"Congratulations to Jos Buttler who comes into the squad following some very exciting limited overs performances for England and a good record with Lancashire this season and fully deserves this opportunity. Matt Prior has contributed a huge amount to the England side over the years and should be proud of his record throughout his 79 Tests. He has decided to take time out of the game to work on his fitness and we will continue to follow his progress over the coming months. "

England squad: Alastair Cook (capt), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad, Jos Buttler, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Sam Robson, Joe Root, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes

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