Ollie Robinson has been replaced in the squad by Dom Bess (Image: AFP via Getty Images)
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England have called up off-spinner Dom Bess to their squad for Edgbaston as they look to turn away from Ollie Robinson and entangle the Kiwis.
Fresh from 4-51 in a final day win over Sussex, Bess is unlikely to play in the second Test that begins on Thursday but it does show that first choice spinner Jack Leach is very much in the frame to be Robinson’s replacement.
Edgbaston, along with Old Trafford, has long been one of the more responsive grounds for English spinners so a shift in the balance of the side to include Leach’s left arm orthodox makes cricketing sense.
Had Robinson been available for the match Leach may well have come in for James Anderson with England managing his workload carefully, but head coach Chris Silverwood’s hand has been forced by the events of the past week.
Ollie Robinson has been suspended for the second Test due to his offensive tweets
“We will see what sort of wicket it is when we get there,” said Silverwood. “But I’m making sure we’ve got every base covered.
“Jack is absolutely fine. The reason we’ve added Dom is that any cover we may need has to be in here with us. If Jack was to feature, we would need back-up for him, in terms of concussion replacements and things like that.
“If we are looking at a spinner and Jack gets injured leading into it, then we will need someone else there as well. It’s making sure we cover that.”
Were England to stick to the same balance of side that played at Lord’s then the most obvious replacement into the side would be Craig Overton, the Somerset bowling all rounder.
Dom Bess has been recalled to the England set-up
(Image: PANKAJ NANGIA)
Overton last played Test cricket for England in the 2019 Ashes and has returned to the squad on merit, following his performances in the County Championship.
However it won’t have escaped the England management that by suspending Robinson for his historic tweets, they could be replacing him with a player who has had to deal with a similar issue, namely the use of racist language in a game, which he addressed and again denied using ahead of the first Test.
Silverwood added: “If Craig plays, we will deal with that when we get there.”
Joe Root has turned to spin for the trip to Edgbaston
(Image: Popperfoto via Getty Images)
There is little doubt that both Silverwood and skipper Joe Root are determined to face up to these issues when they arise, but would hope that the rest of the summer is not dominated by questions about their team’s off-field character when there is more than enough to ponder about their on-field ability.
And apart from openers Rory Burns and Dom Sibley, their batting has some work to do.
“I thought Rory played beautifully and Dom showed a lot of guts to stick in and show how stubborn he can be in the second innings,” added Silverwood. “First time round we paid the price for a lack of discipline and our shot management.”