PEARS aces Moeen Ali and Joe Clarke have missed out on selection for England’s first Test match of the summer which kicks off next Thursday.
All-rounder Moeen has been dropped from the squad following a disappointing winter with bat and ball during the Ashes in Australia which culminated in being omitted from the final Test match against New Zealand in April. The big-hitter is currently plying his trade in the IPL with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and is expected to remain with RCB for the remainder of the tournament.
Talented Worcestershire batsman Clarke has also been overlooked despite two centuries in his last three innings for the Pears.
Clarke’s 157 in the draw with Surrey was followed by 105 in the weekend’s defeat to Essex but wasn’t enough to catch the eye of the selectors ahead of the first of seven Tests for the national side this summer against Pakistan at Lord’s.
The 21-year-old has been touted for a first England call-up having excelled for the Under-19s and England Lions.
But despite the interest, Clarke said his focus has been on his batting.
“I’ve had no contact with anyone at all from England,” he said.
“We’ve played against some really good attacks this year, coming up from Division Two, so it’s nice after a poor start for me personally to score these hundreds and show I can do it in this division.
“Every year you set yourself goals and one of mine is to win as many games as I can for Worcestershire and score as many runs as I can.
Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, who is playing a starring role for the Rajasthan Royals with five successive half centuries in the tournament, will be on the plane home after being chosen to bat at number seven for England. Jonny Bairstow is expected to retain the gloves and Moeen’s spin bowling duties could be taken by 20-year-old Dom Bess from Somerset, who is called up for the first time.
New national selector Ed Smith said: “With Jack Leach missing out due to injury, the selection panel wanted to invest opportunity in a young spin bowler.
“Dom’s strong form, character and all-round abilities presented a compelling case for selection.”