orcestershire seamer Josh Tongue will make a surprise England debut against Ireland this week, with Chris Woakes left out of the first Test of the summer.
Tongue was not named in the initial 15-man squad for the game but was called up as cover last week following minor injuries to James Anderson and Ollie Robinson.
With that pair missing and England reluctant to risk Mark Wood ahead of the Ashes, it had been expected that Woakes would make his first appearance of the ‘Bazball’ era alongside Stuart Broad and Matthew Potts.
However, Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum have instead decided to hand the uncapped Tongue an opportunity to impress, meaning Woakes – who performed media duties to preview the game on Tuesday – will continue to wait for a first Test outing since last spring’s tour of the West Indies.
“He’s a big, strong lad that’s for sure,” McCullum said of Tongue earlier this week. “He looks like he bowls quite fast and has some real skills. He is obviously a bit of a rough diamond.
“We think he has something really exciting and hence we brought him into the squad.”
Wood is fit and has trained with the rest of the squad at Lord’s this week, but England have decided against wheeling him out against Ireland in an attempt to manage his workload ahead of the Ashes, which start at Edgbaston on June 16.
England had hoped to have a battery of genuine express pace options to rotate against Australia, but a season-ending stress fracture for Jofra Archer and a hamstring injury that rules Olly Stone out of at least the first part of the series means Wood now stands alone.
Stokes is himself included in the side despite lingering uncertainty over his fitness to bowl, though the fact that England have left the balance of their team unchanged suggests the captain is confident either in his ability to play a role with the ball, or else happy to go into the game with only three front-line seam options, alongside spinner Jack Leach.
England’s batting lineup more or less picks itself after the decision to leave Ben Foakes out of the initial squad following Jonny Bairstow’s return to fitness, with spare batter Dan Lawrence the player to miss out as expected.
The under-pressure Zak Crawley retains his place at the top of the order alongside Ben Duckett, who will play his first home Test for almost seven years after making his debut away in Bangladesh.
Ollie Pope continues at No3, with Joe Root and Harry Brook set for their first red-ball knocks of the summer having spent the first part of the county season at the IPL.
Bairstow returns to the side to keep wicket and is carded to bat at No7, though McCullum suggested on Monday there could be a degree of movement between his position and that of Stokes at No6.
England XI to face Ireland: Duckett, Crawley, Pope, Root, Brook, Stokes (c), Bairstow (wk), Broad, Potts, Tongue, Leach