Gus Atkinson Set for England Debut in West Indies Opener


July 09, 2024 · 1 min read

Gus Atkinson Set for England Debut in West Indies Opener
Other Sports | July 09, 2024
Gus Atkinson was included in the England squad during their tour of India earlier this year. (Image: Sky Sports)

Gus Atkinson, pace bowler is poised to debut for England in the series opener against West Indies at Lord’s on Wednesday. The 26-year-old joins Chris Woakes and the retiring James Anderson as England’s specialist seamers. Also making his Test debut is Atkinson’s Surrey teammate Jamie Smith, 23, who will take on wicketkeeping duties ahead of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Foakes. Smith, primarily a batter for Surrey, previously kept wicket for England in two one-day internationals against Ireland last year.

Off-spinner Shoaib Bashir, preferred over Jack Leach, will play his first home Test after earning three caps during England’s tour of India earlier this year. England’s XI for the first Test reflects a rejuvenated squad with four changes from their last match against Australia and another four from their defeat in India. Notably, veteran bowler James Anderson prepares for his final international appearance, ending a storied career as England’s leading Test wicket-taker.

Gus Atkinson, known for his pace and with 59 wickets from 19 first-class matches, gets the nod over other seamers in the squad. Smith, renowned for his batting prowess with averages over 40 in first-class cricket and above 56 in the County Championship this season, adds depth to the team. Returning after missing the India tour is batter Harry Brook, who slots in at number five.

Captain Ben Stokes, recovering from a left-knee injury with surgery last November, appears fit to contribute fully with his bowling after a careful rehabilitation period. England’s preparations at Lord’s included Stokes bowling extended spells in practice, despite variable weather conditions in London leading up to the match.