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Jofra Archer returns to England squad as seamers battle for selection

Archer was axed from the second Test squad after breaching bio-security rules.

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Jofra Archer is back in the England team ahead of the third Test (Mike Egerton/PA)

Jofra Archer is back in the England team ahead of the third Test (Mike Egerton/PA)

Jofra Archer is back in the England team ahead of the third Test (Mike Egerton/PA)

Jofra Archer has returned to England’s squad for Thursday’s third Test against the West Indies, with all six frontline seamers included.

Archer has had a turbulent week, axed from the second Test and sent into isolation after breaching bio-security rules with a trip to Hove and then revealing in a newspaper column the extent of the criticism he has since received, including racial abuse.

He also suggested he had struggled for motivation when he returned to training but that has not stopped the selectors including him in a 14-man squad.

Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran – who helped bowl England to a series-levelling victory last time out – are retained, with Archer back alongside James Anderson and Mark Wood who were rested after the first Test.

National selector Ed Smith was effusive in his praise for Archer, suggesting there was no question over his immediate return to the group once it became clear he was ready to play.

“The overwhelming feeling with Jofra is that he’s available for selection, he’s a spectacular talent and a brilliant cricketer with an exceptional record in England,” said Smith.

“It’s good news for England cricket that he’s back in the squad again. The England management has been closely in touch with Jofra all the way through. We care deeply about every player in the England set-up. That connection and communication has been present all the way through with Jofra.”

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Ed Smith, left, with England captain Joe Root (Steven Paston/PA)

Ed Smith, left, with England captain Joe Root (Steven Paston/PA)

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Ed Smith, left, with England captain Joe Root (Steven Paston/PA)

As for the tricky final decision that awaits captain Joe Root and head coach Chris Silverwood over make-up of the bowling unit, Smith insisted it was a welcome one.

“We need every eventuality covered as a squad. We’re extremely pleased everybody is fit and available for selection,” he said.

“We’ve got more players we want to pick than there are places in the team. The aim for all of us involved in English create the most amount of good headaches that we can.”

England squad: Joe Root (Yorkshire) Captain, James Anderson (Lancashire), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Dominic Bess (Somerset), Stuart Broad (Nottinghamshire), Rory Burns (Surrey), Jos Buttler (Lancashire), Zak Crawley (Kent), Sam Curran (Surrey), Ollie Pope (Surrey), Dom Sibley (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), Chris Woakes (Warwickshire), Mark Wood (Durham).

PA