Former England cricket skipper Nasser Hussain said he would have picked in-form wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler over Gary Ballance for England’s first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s starting on Thursday.
Ballance replaces Nick Compton from the squad that beat Sri Lanka 2-0 in the Test series earlier this summer, while Toby Roland-Jones comes in for the injured veteran seamer James Anderson.
“It’s a bit of a surprise selection. Not many people were talking about Ballance this summer and Roland-Jones. To be honest, I haven’t seen a lot of red-ball cricket, so it is difficult to judge,” Hussain was quoted as saying by Sky Sports on Sunday.
Jos Buttler smashed 73 off 49 balls opening the batting for England in the recent T20I against Sri Lanka.
“It’s in no way a dreadful selection, but I would have gone differently. I have said that all along. Buttler is too good a talent to have just carrying the drinks or out playing in county cricket.”
“Buttler hasn’t played a lot of red-ball cricket since he was left out of the Test team, and the selectors obviously wanted to go for someone who has. Jos now needs to score a stack of runs for Lancashire, although it looks like he might be injured for a while.
“The selectors are showing a bit of continuity by picking Ballance. He was the reserve batsman in the squad in South Africa, plus he scored a very timely hundred for Yorkshire against a decent Middlesex bowling attack last week.”
Batsman Scott Borthwick was in sensational form for Durham earlier in the season but misses out on the England squad.