Robson backed to prove his Test opener worth

 
Frank Dalleres
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ENGLAND selector James Whitaker has backed Middlesex batsman Sam Robson to make the Test opener’s position his own when he makes his bow against Sri Lanka in the familiar surrounds of Lord’s next week.

Robson, one of the three uncapped players in a 12-man squad for the first of two Tests, is set to partner captain Alastair Cook at the top of the order, having impressed for England’s Performance Programme and Lions teams over the winter.

“The winter form showed his excellence,” said Whitaker. “Five hundreds there, and he showed some great characteristics. He has a great attitude and is very fit, focused and disciplined – all the attributes [coach] Peter [Moores] and Alastair want in their squad. All along, Sam has had the hallmarks of the next England opening batter.”

Sydney-born Robson’s selection means no place for Ashes opener Michael Carberry, while stalwart wicketkeeper Matt Prior’s return to fitness has been convincing enough for England to omit in-form Jos Buttler, and all-rounder Ben Stokes has been considered too rusty following injury.

Sussex paceman Chris Jordan, who like Buttler starred in the recent one-day series against Sri Lanka, is included and in line for a first Test cap, as is Warwickshire off-spinner and all-rounder Moeen Ali, while fast-bowler Liam Plunkett is back in the side after a seven-year absence. Plunkett, 29, last played a Test match in coach Peter Moores’s first stint in charge, but has played his way back into international contention since swapping Durham for Yorkshire last year.

ENGLAND SQUAD

A Cook (Capt), M Ali, J Anderson, G Ballance, I Bell, S Broad, C Jordan, L Plunkett, M Prior, S Robson, J Root, C Woakes

First Test, Lord’s, 12-16 June