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Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes return for third Test

Jos Buttler
Jos Buttler of England bats watched by Jonathan Bairstow. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

The England team management confirmed that Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler will make a return to England Playing XI for the 3rd Test against India starting in Mohali on Saturday.

While Buttler has replaced Ben Duckett who had a horrendous run in Asia so far, Woakes replaces the injured Stuart Broad.

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“Stuart is definitely out,” Alastair Cook confirmed. “And Chris Woakes is definitely in.”

Cook also confirmed that Ansari was not fit for selection but didn’t name the squad as he thought it would be appropriate to take a call only after seeing the pitch. In all likelihood, 39-year-old Gareth Batty is set to make a return in place of Zafar Ansari.

Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow will be promoted up the order to No.4 and 5 respectively while Buttler will bat at No.7. This means Moeen Ali will have batted in every position in the top 9 except No.3 where he usually bats while playing for his county Worcestershire.

Buttler will make a return to the side after playing has last Test against Pakistan in UAE last year. This will be his 2nd first-class match after being dropped from the Test side. He was planning to play Championship cricket earlier in the summer which prematurely came to an end after a broken thumb.

“Jos is an extremely talented cricketer and we’ve all seen that in the one-day and Twenty20 format,” Cook said. “He’s right up there with the best short-form players in the world and he’s earned an opportunity to come and play here.

“It’s clearly not ideal because of circumstances and he hasn’t played a lot of red-ball cricket but sometimes when the pressure’s off and you just go out and play you can do something special.

The England skipper made it clear there was no discussion in handing over the gloves to Buttler and playing Bairstow as a specialist batsman after the latter had a prolific year with the bat and is currently the highest run-scorer in the longest format of the game.

“There was no temptation to give Jos the gloves back. I think Jonny’s been outstanding and has settled into that role and done very well.”

Indian captain Virat Kohli stated that he was pretty surprised to see England took this long to bring Buttler back. “I was actually quite surprised to see him being left out after a couple of bad runs. I think he’s a very talented player and can do really well for England.”

Speaking on Ben Duckett’s future in the side, Cook said, “Ben won’t be the only good player who has been dropped,” he said. “He has an England future, there’s no doubt about it because he’s a very talented guy with a lot ahead of him.

“When I chatted to him he said he thought he was a pretty decent player of spin. And he is. But he just has an issue which unfortunately has been found out quite quickly which can happen in this part of the world in international cricket.

“He can go and address that and come again because he’s a very talented and exciting cricketer in all three forms. It’s just a blip in his career. He will have to work at his game, but he isn’t the first person who has to do that and he won’t be the last, “the southpaw concluded.

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