Experienced fast bowler Stuart Broad was given no guarantees by England coach Chris Silverwood on Monday of a recall for the second cricket test against the West Indies.
Selection was still up for grabs for the test starting on Thursday, Silverwood said.
Broad was dropped for the series opener, which England lost in Southampton on Sunday, and gave an interview during the match in which he said he was “frustrated, angry and gutted.”
It provided one of the big talking points at the Rose Bowl last week and England’s defeat could open the door for a return for Broad, who sits second on the country’s all-time wickets list in tests on 485.
Silverwood was non-committal, though.
When asked whether Broad is in line to play, Silverwood said: “Nothing is a given in this team, as we have seen, and people will be playing for their spots. Everything will be considered.”
Silverwood had no problem with Broad speaking out during the match, saying the player “handled himself very well.”
“What I did love about it, and subsequently in the conversations I have had with him, is that passion and drive is still there,” Silverwood said.
“To see that in someone who has done as much in the game as he has, I find very exciting to be honest. Stuart still has a big role to play in this team and I have made that very clear to him.”
England went with Mark Wood, Jofra Archer and Jimmy Anderson as its pace bowlers in Southampton.
Wood picked up only two wickets across the two innings, perhaps making him the fall guy if Broad is to return. Alternatively, England may choose to rest Anderson, who has had an injury-hit last year and might not be risked to play three back-to-back test matches with three more tests against Pakistan soon after.
The third test, also at Old Trafford, starts on July 24.
What Silverwood did reveal in his squad update on Monday was that wicketkeeper Jos Buttler would remain behind the stumps, despite his diminishing returns as a batsman.
Buttler has a test average of 23.22 since the start of 2019, and only one century in 75 innings.
“I’m not going to go down that road yet of putting Jos under pressure, because I don’t think it’s going to help him,” Silverwood said. “First and foremost, we want to give Jos the best opportunity to succeed.
“But I’m sure he is asking the same questions. He looked brilliant coming into this game, in practice and everything and he looked very good in the first innings. He just needs to go and make those big scores now, doesn’t he? He knows that as well.”
England’s players were tested for COVID-19 before making their way up from Southampton to Manchester on Monday.
England captain Joe Root, who missed the first test for the birth of his second child, will link up with the squad in Manchester and will play in the second match.