Lyth finally set for England chance

England look set to finally hand Adam Lyth his England Test debut after naming the Yorkshire opener in their 12-man squad for the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s. On the back of Jonathan Trott’s retirement, Lyth now looks likely to partner England captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order in a game that could have a big say on whether he will be involved in this summer’s Ashes series. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, depending on which way you are looking at it, the 12-man squad named for the first Test of the English summer contains 10 of the 11 players who played the final two Tests against the West Indies.

After playing a key role in Yorkshire winning the County Championship last season, scoring a heap of runs in all formats of the game, Lyth earned his first call-up into the England squad for this winter’s tour of the West Indies. The batsman topped the county charts last season, scoring 1,489 runs, including six hundreds and six 50s, to help him amass an incredible average of 67.68. Despite Trott’s problems opening the batting against the West Indies, England decided against selecting Lyth in any of the three Tests. That is something they could be regretting now. The 27-year-old has been a consistent run scorer in county cricket over the past few seasons, but two Test matches isn’t a long time to get used to the international game. Mitchell Johnson (pictured below) and the rest of the Australian pace department will be licking their lips at the prospect of peppering the new boy later this summer.

With just two Tests coming up against New Zealand before this summer’s Ashes, England will only be able to see Lyth in a potential four innings before deciding whether or not he is ready to top the order against the in-form Aussies in a series in which the tourists are currently as short as 2/5 with bet365 to win. But Lyth isn’t the only uncapped player looking to taste some action after spending the past few weeks carrying the drinks in the Caribbean. Durham bowler Mark Wood was another player rewarded for an impressive 2014 summer by being called-up to the Test squad for the tour of the West Indies. The 25-year-old will now be hoping to earn his place in the team before the Ashes.

Aside from James Anderson, the English bowlers haven’t come away from the West Indies with too much to shout about. While it’s highly likely Anderson and Stuart Broad will retain their place in the bowling attack for the Ashes, Wood could still have a chance of securing the third seamer slot if he has an opportunity to impress against the Black Caps over the next few weeks. Chris Jordan looks to be the man currently in line to hang onto his place in this bowling line-up, but a lot can change in a short time with English cricket.