Eoin Morgan overlooked for test series

England selectors have opted for three uncapped players in the squad to take on the Sri Lankans

There is no place for Skerries born Eoin Morgan is the England squad for the test series against Sri Lanka.

The selectors have picked three uncapped players to start a new era under under Peter Moores, opener Sam Robson and all-rounders Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali. They are all in line to make their debuts at Lord's against Sri Lanka next week.

Morgan, stated earlier in the year that his ambition was to get back into England's test team and his determination was illustrated by his decision not to play in the T20 Indian Premier League this year to instead concentrate on first class cricket.

He was part of the England teams that took on Sri Lanka in T20 and also a member of the side who lost 3-2 in the One Day series, where the Dubliner struggled a little bit for form with the bat.


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.

But Jos Buttler will not be making a Test debut yet, with Matt Prior fit after an Achilles injury to return as wicketkeeper.

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 admitted: “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.”

Plunkett, 29, has had a dramatic resurgence since moving from Durham to Yorkshire last year. He won the last of his nine Test caps at the start of Moores’ first stint as coach against West Indies at Old Trafford in June 2007.

England’s selectors have been particularly impressed by Plunkett’s pace so far this season. “He has shown all the hallmarks of a spearhead fast bowler,” said Whitaker.

“He’s had some really quick spells, 90mph. One of his quickest was at Lord’s, a few weeks ago, so he’ll be confident there.”

Moeen is selected in England’s middle order, but also as an off-spinner. Worcestershire’s batting all-rounder has won nine limited-overs caps in recent months.

He explained:: “I loved my time for England during the winter, and everyone made me feel so welcome and part of the squad — and, apart from the last couple of T20s when I didn’t get many runs, overall I was quite pleased.

“I thought the previous winter that the chance might have passed me by to play for England. But I put my foot down and really worked hard on my game and to score mountains of runs.

“This winter’s experience has given me the hunger to want to play more international cricket, and obviously the next step is Test cricket.

“I’ve been concentrating on playing for Worcestershire, who I love playing for, but to now be selected for the Test squad is fantastic news.”

While Moeen breaks new ground, Prior is given the chance to restate his case at the highest level — having been dropped for the final two Ashes Tests and then recovering from an Achilles injury in the nick of time.

England have no doubts that Prior is fully fit again. “That is our number one priority, in selection criteria, someone being 100 per cent fit — and we’re very confident Matt is,” said Whitaker.

“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. He is just the sort of character we want in that team.”

Prior has won his race against time to be fit, but Ben Stokes has not. England have chosen Woakes instead of the Durham all-rounder, whose eventful winter included a maiden Test century in Perth but then a self-inflicted broken wrist when he lost his temper with a Bridgetown dressing-room locker after making a golden duck.

He missed the start of the summer because of that injury, and has since been able to play only two first-class matches so far.

But Whitaker said: “Ben Stokes is very much part of England’s future. There’s going to be a core group of players emerging, of which Ben will be one. Just at the moment, we feel — with only 36 or so overs under his belt — we would like to see a few more, and get a bit more stamina into his body.

“Of course, he’s disappointed ... (but) he understands that. He will be back soon, I’m sure.”