James Foster not handed an England Test recall as Matt Prior returns

James Foster. PIC: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTOS

James Foster. PIC: GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTOS

First published in Local Sport

ESSEX skipper James Foster has not won a recall to the England Test squad.

The 34-year-old had been tipped by some pundits to replace Matt Prior as England’s wicketkeeper with the Sussex man strugging with an Achilles’ injury.

But Prior has proved his fitness to the selectors and he will win back the gloves after being dropped for the final two Tests of last Winter’s ill-fated Ashes series.

Foster has not played for England for 12 years and it now seems unlikely he will add to his seven Test caps.

National selector James Whittaker said: “That is our number one priority, in selection criteria, someone being 100 per cent fit – and we’re very confident Matt is.

“He’s come back, really gunning to get his place back, and we believe now he can be a part of that core group of senior players that can drive this team forward for the next two or three years.”

England have picked three uncapped players in the first Test squad of their new era under Peter Moores.

Opener Sam Robson and all-rounders Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali are all in line to make their debuts at Lord’s against Sri Lanka next week.

There is also room, in a 12-man squad, for seamer Liam Plunkett – who last played Test cricket seven years ago – and another pace option in Chris Woakes.

Jos Buttler, who made such an impact in the one-day series against Sri Lanka, will have to wait for his Test debut, however.

National selector James Whitaker explained the promotion of all the potential new caps, in a list showing six changes from the team which lost England’s last Test in Sydney to conclude their miserable Ashes whitewash.

The start of Sydney-born Robson’s Test career for England, on his home ground as a Middlesex batsman, will be especially notable.

The 24-year-old was outstanding for England Lions, in Australia and Sri Lanka, last winter – and the selectors appear to have been unanimous in choosing him as captain Alastair Cook’s new opening partner in place of Michael Carberry, who did the job in the Ashes.

Whitaker said: “The winter form (showed) his excellence – five hundreds there, and he showed some great characteristics.

“He has a great attitude and is very fit, focused and disciplined - all the attributes Peter and Alastair want in their squad.

“All along, Sam has had the hallmarks of the next England opening batter.”

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