Monday 18 December 2017

'Emotional' Stoneman gets call-up


Mark Stoneman in action for his club Surrey. Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images
Mark Stoneman in action for his club Surrey. Photo: Harry Trump/Getty Images

David Charlesworth

Mark Stoneman admitted to a "release of emotion" after winning an England call-up for next week's historic day-night Test against West Indies.

Stoneman, as widely anticipated, replaces the misfiring Keaton Jennings and will become the 12th batsman since Andrew Strauss retired five years ago to get a chance to stake his claim at the top of the order alongside Cook.

Spinner Mason Crane's call-up in a 13-man squad for Edgbaston was unexpected after an indifferent season with Hampshire though the 20-year-old made a positive impression in England's Twenty20 series against South Africa in June.

But the majority of eyes will be on Stoneman, a 30-year-old batsman who made his name with Durham before moving to Surrey in the winter. A prolific run-scorer on the county circuit, Stoneman said England's call left him stunned. "It hasn't quite sunk in yet, it's amazing," he said. "It's been a long road, a few ups and downs, but to get that call was quite the release of emotion."

Dawid Malan, who, like Jennings, struggled against South Africa, and Tom Westley have been retained, meaning dynamic in-form batsman Alex Hales misses out, while there is a recall for Chris Woakes after the seamer's recovery from injury.

The forthcoming series, which gets under way at 2pm next Thursday in Birmingham, is England's final Test outing before they defend the Ashes Down Under this winter. The decision to include Crane may, in part, be down to England having one eye on the Australia series, with the Hampshire spinner bolstering his reputation by last winter becoming the first overseas player in more than 30 years to represent New South Wales.

Irish Independent

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