England in selection limbo after failing to name any vice-captain for final Test

After losing the fourth Test against India at The Oval, England has named their squad for the fifth and final Test, which will take place at Old Trafford in Manchester starting from September 10, 2021. Although India leads the series 2-1, England still has a chance to level it.

IND vs ENG Series: Jos Buttler set to return for fifth Test at Old Trafford
Jose Buttler. Source: Insidesport.com

Talking of changes, Jos Buttler, the wicketkeeper-batsman, has returned to the squad following the birth of his daughter. This is what had kept him out of the fourth Test. Even though he isn’t in the best of form, Buttler is one of the team’s more seasoned players.

No vice-captain in the final Test

Surprisingly, no vice-captain has been assigned for this Test. In the fourth match, Moeen Ali was appointed as Joe Root’s deputy, but Buttler’s return should have signaled that he would take Ali’s place. It’s possible that not designating either of them as vice-captain indicates that neither of them has a confirmed spot in the final XI that will take the field in Manchester.

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach has been chosen in the squad despite not having played a single Test this summer. With the pitch in Old Trafford set to assist spinners, Leach’s comeback makes sense. Given the presence of Chris Woakes, England may choose to select Leach over Ali, but going with both does not appear to be an option.

With Buttler’s return, Sam Billings, who had been added to the team for the Oval Test, has been removed. Ollie Pope, who was brought in for the Oval Test, scored an 81, which may persuade Root to keep him.

However, if Buttler is called back, Jonny Bairstow, who took the gloves, may lose his spot. Craig Overton has also been chosen in the squad, after appearing to injure his elbow while batting on the fifth day at Oval. These are some questions for England to consider.

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