England selectors have backed batsman Gary Ballance to revive his international career in the middle order after recalling him for next week’s first Test against Pakistan at Lord’s.
Ballance has not played for England since being dropped from the No3 slot during last year’s Ashes but, with Joe Root set to take that place in the absence of Nick Compton, he is set for another chance.
Jos Buttler has been overlooked despite his white-ball heroics, while uncapped Middlesex paceman Toby Roland-Jones makes a 12-man squad missing the injured James Anderson, partially fit Ben Stokes and Durham all-rounder Scott Borthwick.
Ballance hit 132 against Middlesex this week and national selector James 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.”
Whitaker added that 28-year-old Roland-Jones, who has taken 30 wickets in nine county matches this season, “has been a consistent performer in the County Championship over the last few years and deserves his chance”.
He will compete with Nottinghamshire’s Jake Ball for the place vacated by Anderson, who has a shoulder injury.
England start the first match of a four-Test series next Thursday. The Pakistan tour will follow the same Super Series points system as the recent visit of Sri Lanka, which incorporates results in all three forms of the game and which England this week won 20-4.