Mark Stoneman and Mason Crane get first England Test calls

11 August 2017 04:38

Mark Stoneman is ready to take his long-awaited opportunity at the top of England's order after being named in the Test squad for the first time.

The 30-year-old opening batsman replaced former Durham team-mate Keaton Jennings in the squad for next week's day-night Test against West Indies at Edgbaston.

He is set to become the 12th batsman since Andrew Strauss retired five years ago to get a chance to open the batting alongside Alastair Cook.

Stoneman, who joined Surrey this season, has scored 828 runs at an average of 59.14 in the County Championship and is on course to pass 1,000 for the fifth year running.

"It hasn't quite sunk in yet, it's amazing," Stoneman told Surrey's website.

"It's been a long road, a few ups and downs, but to get that call was quite the release of emotion and something I am very proud of.

"I've had 10 years as a professional so I'd hope I have worked things out by now. The experiences I have had now, against the top bowlers in Division One and overseas bowlers, will stand me in good stead."

Stoneman is joined in the 13-man squad by Hampshire spinner Mason Crane, who impressed in his Twenty20 international debut in June.

The 20-year-old leg-spinner celebrated his call-up by taking three for 21 in Hampshire's NatWest T20 Blast victory against Glamorgan on Thursday evening.

Crane said: "To be honest I didn't think I would be called up this summer.

"You see it written about and you dream in your head that maybe you could do but I thought probably not this year.

"I am very lucky and privileged to be here now. When you start playing cricket you want to play for England and then play Test cricket for England.

"Test cricket is the pinnacle and it is about getting my head down now and hopefully being in the side."

National selector James Whitaker said: "Selectors would like to offer their congratulations to Mark Stoneman and Mason Crane who thoroughly deserve their opportunity in the squad."

Jennings, who averaged 15.87 in the South Africa series, will return to Durham, with Whitaker hoping the 25-year-old can "recapture the form that earned him selection in the first place".

Dawid Malan, who also struggled against South Africa, and Tom Westley have been retained, meaning in-form batsman Alex Hales misses out, while there is a recall for Chris Woakes following the seamer's recovery from injury.

Source: PA