Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer back for first two tests against India

Explosive all-rounder Ben Stokes and stimulator Jofra Archer returned on Thursday to a 16-member England squad nominated for the first two tests of the upcoming four-game series against India.

The England selectors have also named six traveling reserves for the first and second matches, which will be held at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai from February 5.

Stokes and Archer were both rested for the ongoing two-game test series in Sri Lanka, while Rory Burns was at home for the birth of her child.

The team will continue to be led by Joe Root.

Ollie Pope from Surrey will travel to India and will be added to the squad once he gets in shape. Pope is recovering from a shoulder injury suffered in September during the test series against Pakistan.

The national selectors gave Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood a rest. The three players, currently in Sri Lanka, will miss the first and second tests in India.

“This is consistent with the selection policy of finding a rest block for all multi-format players at some point during the winter after Christmas program,” said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in a press release.

With the return of Archer and Stokes and subject to the physical condition of the rest of the squad, Somerset’s Craig Overton will return home after the Sri Lanka series.

Squad for the first two tests: Joe Root, Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes.

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